Asian Beauty Trends at Cosmoprof Asia 2019

Cosmoprof Asia was a very different event this year with many exhibitors and cosmoprof-asia-2019buyers not coming to Hong Kong due to the ongoing political unrest.

The official numbers are not out yet but in 2018 there were over 3000 exhibitors from 53 countries with 87,000 visitors from 135 countries. 2019 was definitely quieter both from an exhibitor perspective and most definitely visitors numbers were under half only reaching 40,000 (see picture on right).

Here is my recap from the 2018 show which you might find interesting for comparison.

Despite this it was as always a very interesting event to discover new brands, meet suppliers and hear trends reports from across the region.


Asia is still a booming skincare market making up 52% of global sales – this is being driven by China and south east Asia with Korea and Hong Kong experiencing a significant slow down. There is still much room for growth judging by the spend per capita vs. developed markets.

Facial skincare is still dominant taking up 87% of skincare market. Anti-pollution products are popular as this is a major concern. Body care under performs vs. global average at only 5% share vs. 12% globally.

K-Beauty that has been on the rise for many years is now definitely not growing as fast. Consumers in Asia are moving away from the fast paced Korean beauty products for several reasons including geopolitical issues between Korea and China as well as the decline of popularity in K-pop and Korean drama.

In the Premium market J-Beauty has come up to be a star, due to care, attention and long R&D process – consumers associate it with careful quality. It is a more serious skincare choice vs. its fun-loving Korean neighbour.

For the mass segment there was a lot of talk about the rise of C-Beauty with a surge in popularity with brands like Chando and Pechoin. Some of these brands are using traditional Chinese ingredients and appealing to the increased nationalism throughout the China market.


Male grooming is on the rise

Men are increasing the time they spend on grooming as well as diversifying the number and types of products they are using. There is more growth in the mass sector vs. the premium and some luxury brands are re positioning to meet this eg: Armani men’s Skincare have redesigned their line using biodegradable, natural ingredients and dropped their price point.

Mature consumers (over 50s)

With major markets all grappling with aging populations this segment is not to be ignored. Already we are seeing the emergence of older influencers like Park Mak Rye a Korean grandma who’s beauty and lifestyle youtube videos are watched by millions. There are brands from other categories such as supplements moving into Skincare to target this audience as the beauty industry as done very little itself…defininitely an opportunity here!

Derma Beauty

Derma beauty is seeing significant growth and brands are differentiating themselves by using influencers who really represent what their consumers are striving for, therefore making the brands and products both relatable and aspirational. Brands like Vichy, Avene are using athletes. And big retail chains have derma corners. This is all linked to consumers wanting to use more preventative beauty products and be more proactive about their health in general.


From Beautystreams presentation they came up with 6 Beauty consumer profiles. These are global but resonate to a lesser or greater extent in Asia.

1. ID asserters – society recoded and x-realities. They are young, tech focused and want high tech, personalised solutions.

2. Happy holistic – has gone from niche to very mainstream in most of the west. It is still growing in Asia but very much on trend.

3. Excellencers – they are into the latest innovations, focused on efficiency and are still looking into cleaner formulations but want to maintain maximum product efficacy.

4. No-frills – People who are streamlining, simplifying their lives and don’t want too much excess. Brands like Dove & Ikea

5. Know it alls – could be mis educated on ingredients despite being well-educated but they think they know everything and tend to preach to their social group

6. Ethicalists – this group are really activists, they try to convince people to go their way in terms of choosing ethical products, vegan, sustainable, cruelty free etc.

Where do you think your customer sits? Who are you targeting in the next 12-18 months?


  1. Green chemistry is on the rise as people want more natural ingredients and companies are finding solutions that can imitate synthetics
  2. Baby-proof – Claims that products (designed for adults) are safe even for babies is very appealing to consumers
  3. Raw textures convey naturalness – as people are looking to pair back their purchases and lifestyles
  4. Ethical formulas are highly valued as people search for increasing traceability and ethical practices
  5. Effect switching is popular as people search for entertainment in their Beauty products like formulas or effects that change due to heat and light. Very popular in Asia.
  6. Face accessories & Eco glitter
  7. Power of stones – holistic healing


Cosmoprof Asia is still a very worthwhile beauty show. It is very accessible, well run and has a lot of good brands exhibiting. There Natural and Organic products section was quite small this year but I know several brands who cancelled because of the unrest so this section was probably disproportionately affected.

In Asia things are shifting and consumer habits are changing – the big shift in popularity from K-Beauty is very telling as people look to J-Beauty for quality, R&D and a slow, measured approach or the Chinese are keen on their own brands especially ones which are drawing on the ancient traditions of herbs and TCM.

New brands coming into Asia or expanding beyond their home markets should look at some of these macro trends for opportunities especially men’s, mature and derma segments as this will help you with buyers in the region.

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