Sales of skin care declined in Asia Pacific in 2020, with the region hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures taken to contain its spread. Hand care was one product that continued to record positive growth, with consumers needing to moisturise hands dried out by frequent washing and sanitising. Skin care will rebound with dynamic growth in 2021, quickly regaining any sales lost during 2020.
Skin care sales were increasing at steady annual growth rates of 6-7% in Asia Pacific in recent years, with China, in particular, helping to drive these increases. Factors like anti-ageing and clean beauty were visible trends across the region, while e-commerce had grown to become the biggest individual retail distribution channel.
Many markets in the region, including China, saw a slightly worse skin care performance against the backdrop of the pandemic in 2020, with some countries, eg Japan, seeing big sales declines. COVID-19, or, more precisely, the measures taken to control its spread, including store closures and lockdowns, disrupted skin care sales. Hand care sales benefited from the additional washing and sanitising of hands during the pandemic, while “soothing” was a key theme as consumers sought products to relieve skin problems caused or exacerbated by the frequent use of face masks.
E-commerce recorded strong growth during the pandemic, particularly during lockdown periods, but also with consumers looking for ways of minimising their exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Internet retailing accounted for more than a third of sales in both China and South Korea in 2020, with companies becoming more digitally active during the pandemic. Skin care is also an industry in which players make extensive use of livestreaming, particularly in China, as it enables brands to demonstrate products, engage with consumers and distribute exclusive coupons.
Chinese growth rates will strengthen again from 2021, while Japan will return to positive territory from this year, with Asia Pacific as a whole expected to see healthy annual growth rates over the forecast period.
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