GCC beauty, local brands on the rise? – Chalhoub Group launches White Paper to explore modern beauty in the GCC

Chalhoub Group, the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East,launches today the Group’s sixth White Paper, ‘GCC Beauty: Local Brands on the Rise?’.

In-depth knowledge of the Middle East market and consumers is at the forefront of Chalhoub Group’s business practices. With over 60 years of experience in the industry, the Group is thego-to partner for major international brands wanting to enter the Middle Eastern market; with extensive experience in building brands in the region across the beauty, fashion and gift sectors.

After decades of international brands dominance over the Gulf beauty landscape, local independent players are on the rise and appealing to the modern consumer by standing forthe region’s values and culture. This major shift in a so far constant retail environment is not incidental. To the contrary, it simultaneously results from and contributes to a profound change in how the whole beauty sector defines itself and operates nowadays. The emergence of homegrown beauty entrepreneurs combined with the surge in internet usage are key factors in the change seen in how the beauty sector defines itself and operates nowadays. The Chalhoub Group sees an overwhelming change in how the whole beauty sector defines itself and operates nowadays, and therefore chose to focus this sixth White Paper on modern beauty in the GCC and the change taking place in the retail ecosystem.

The Group’s research in the GCC has found that:

  • Evolving in a culture where sophisticated makeup is not only accepted but prized in everyday life, women in the Gulf allocate significant time and budget to their beauty routine.
  • Following the first half of 2017’s trend, the Gulf brick-and-mortar prestige beauty market has decreased by approximately -5% for the full year 2017. The largest decline in 2017 was seen in the fragrance category, with a shrinkage of around -10% compared to the year before. The makeup category was also struggling in 2017, decreasing by approximately -3%, while it was still slightly positive during the first half 2017.
  • As a result, the overall GCC prestige beauty market was estimated at approximately US$1.8 billion for 2017, compared to US$1.9 billion in 2016 1. Faced with this drop in sales, international brands have reduced their marketing investments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),
  • A unique phenomenon being seen in the region is how beautystas, or beauty stars, in the Gulf now use digital channels to train themselves into actual experts, flocking to social media networks to get inspired by and learn from powerful influencers.
  • Today, people expect to be perceived as individuals, whose needs cannot be simplified or modelled and should rather be answered with a customisable offering. This new reality explains the roaring success of independent (indie) beauty players that smartly capture and reflect the modern mindset.
  • In the Gulf, the fragrance category is split between Western and Oriental perfumes (the latter representing 60% to 65% of the total market 20), and traditional labels still have the upper hand on the brick-and-mortar market. However, names like Ghawali,Arcadia, Odict, Ne’emah or Widian are gaining ground in terms of awareness andrecognition.
  • Whether they were established by influencers or not, most independent beauty brands in the Gulf develop efficient e-stores and use social media for promotion.In this shifting environment, the Group’s White Paper identifies key steps that GCC and international beauty brands should take in order to prepare for the future:
  • Beauty brands can begin to accommodate local consumers by offering products that are customised to fit the features of the found in the region
  • International brands must embrace Arab beauty by offering products that enhance their features, rather than recommending products that will change their appearance
  • They must also devise and implement long-term, comprehensive and genuine strategies to convince consumers they understand the beauty culture in the region
  • Shifting focus towards online platforms is the way forward in regards to reaching a wider consumer base and offering to the new generation of Arab consumers the unique experience they seekAnthony Chalhoub, Co-CEO Chalhoub Group, commented:“Understanding the modern day needs of consumers in the GCC and being able to keep up with the changing beauty landscape is key for international and indie brands to begin building a loyal customer base. It is essential that we study all aspects of the changing beauty landscape, including how social media influencers are connecting with people in the region, while adapting our methods to meet the demands of this fast-paced market.

    Patrick Chalhoub, Co-CEO Chalhoub Group, added: “The competitive beauty landscape is shifting quickly in the region; meaning that the ability of brands to move from a traditional brick and mortar method of sales to an online one is the future of retail for both local and international brands. There is a long way to go, but creating a strategy that allows for a customisable retail experience is the direction in which brands should be heading, if they don’t want to be left out.”



The Chalhoub Group is the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East since 1955. As an expert in retail, distribution and marketing services based in Dubai, the Group has become a major player in the beauty, fashion and gift sectors regionally.
By blending its Middle East expertise and intimate knowledge of luxury, the Chalhoub Group is building brands in the region, by offering service excellence to all its partners and a unique experience to its customers.

With a growing workforce of more than 12,000 people, implemented in 14 countries, as well as operating over 650 retail stores, the Group’s success is attributed to its most valued asset: highly skilled and dedicated teams. Professionalism and passion are what fuel the Chalhoub Group’s competitive edge in today’s market.

By being committed to implementing sustainable practices into their business, the Chalhoub Group was awarded in 2016, for the fourth consecutive year, the CSR Label from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and has been accepted in 2014 as a new member of the United Nations Global Compact Community.



Tags from the story
, , ,
More from Graziella Ferraro


The contrast of bold city edge and understated glamour are the essence...
Read More