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Things to Consider When Entering the Middle East Beauty Market

Expanding your brand into a new market is exciting and often daunting. Inevitably, each new market big or small presents its own unique opportunities, consumer expectations, retailer requirements and challenges.

The GCC has been a growing hub of international beauty brands for many years and the good news is that looks set to continue for a long time yet with beauty in the region expected to be worth around $2.4B by 2026. So, if you’re looking at where to take your brand next, or already have your strategy focused on the Middle East there’s no time like the present. But have you considered all angles to ensure a smooth and successful launch?


There are a few key things to consider when looking to enter the GCC market:

  • 1. Are you clued up on the consumer?

    When you consider the potential of the region are you focusing on the wider Middle East, the GCC as a group or will you go country by country and roll out more strategically? No two ME/GCC countries are alike, while the UAE and in particular, Dubai jumps to mind as the flagship for most brands and retailers it’s not necessarily reflective of the rest of the region in terms of trends and spending. By contrast KSA offers huge growth potential for brands as such an aggressively growing market, but with so many regulations on compliance and import it can take well over a year and lots of complex set ups and investment to get product into the consumers hands.

  • 2. How do you fit in?

    he regional trends and retailer positioning vary between each country and very often do not follow what is typical of the US or European markets, so it’s important to do your research and have a clear picture of where your brand will sit within it all. Do your sales come from masstige price point and selling volumes, or do you appeal to the premium-luxury consumer? Does your brand already have an established awareness in other countries that can be seen regularly via tourists or expats to the region? Consider that luxury spa is one of the strongest routes to market for beauty brands in the GCC and the variety of brands and experiences available to spa guests is eclectic and vast.

  • 3. Can you do it alone?

    Depending on your planned routes to market and focuses the GCC and more specifically each country within it will require an individually tailored approach and operating model to support your brands growth. Setting up your brand as its own entity is generally slow and costly, many brands find it necessary to partner with a distributor based in the region who can offer compliance, operations, and commercial support.

  • 4. Are you regionally relevant?

    So, you have your strategy set out and everything lined up to get going. How will you market your brand? Do you need to regionalise and re-work your in-house plans or would you benefit more from the local experience and expertise of a third party to manage and execute on the ground for you? Understanding how each consumer by country differs in their expectations and responses as well as an awareness of the regional cultural and consumer seasons can make all the difference to a successful campaign.

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