Last month, L’Oréal announced that they are opening a research and innovation centre in Johannesburg. The aim of this centre is to “study African hair and skin specificities as well as the beauty routines and expectations of sub-Saharan consumers.”
L’Oréal is one of the world’s largest beauty companies with a market capitalization of $102.9 billion. Several well-known brands are part of the L’Oréal Group including Dark and Lovely, Carol’s Daughter, The Body Shop, Lancôme, Garnier, Maybelline New York, and NYX cosmetics.
Why is L’Oréal be interested in this research?
Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a large market share in the beauty industry. There is so much potential. As you may know, it can be difficult to get affordable and good quality products tailored for us. Some of the products we get are imported at a huge markup. Having products geared for us may eliminate or reduce some of these issues.
There are possible positive and negative outcomes of this development.
- Job creation
- Collaboration opportunities for scientists and local universities
- Products that are at low consumer cost while incorporating beneficial ingredients
- Plenty of resources available to go towards research
- Possibilities of new and innovative products targeted for the African woman
Possible Negative Outcomes
- New products may drive smaller brands out of business
- The centre may only focus on minor changes to current products in order to impact the market
Three years ago, L’Oréal opened similar research centres in India with a similar aim as the South African one. Now, they are releasing revamped versions of their products that include Ayurvedic ingredients. The principles of Ayurveda originated from India so most of their citizens will be familiar with these ingredients.
Will L’Oréal start incorporating our local ingredients in their products? Will they formulate new products for us? What will be the impact of this centre? Only time will tell.