Improvements in Thailand’s economy and overall GDP has ushered in an era of unprecedented consumer spending lead by Thailand’s burgeoning middle class who are flush with disposable income and demand high quality cosmetics. According to statistics retail sales in Thailand’s cosmetic market have increased 50% in the past five years, reaching 2.34 billion US dollars in 2013. Thailand’s cosmetics market now ranks amongst Asia’s top 5 behind Japan, China, Korea and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). The Thai market is divided amongst the top two domestic enterprises namely SSUP and Better Way which rank first and second respectively, followed by L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Shiseido (3rd, 5th and 8th).
In Thailand, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Shiseido are the top foreign brands. However according to data the Korean brand “Etude House” has started to make significant headway and is threatening to supplant some of Japan’s top brands. A survey carried out by Japan’s “Economy News” shows that Etude House has already broken into Thailand’s top ten cosmetic brands and if this trend continues Japan’s noisy neighbor may well consolidate a large portion of Japan’s target consumer sector. Tellingly, data also shows that Korean brands perform poorly in cosmetic chains shops and large high-class supermarkets but perform well in retail stores.
Japan Economy News also said that the impact of Korean pop stars and Korean TV series on young Thai women plays a significant role in the recent upsurge in consumption of Korean cosmetic brands. Thai consumers also believe that Korean brands are more suitable for them because the color of European and American cosmetics is designed for whiter skin tones while Japanese cosmetics tends to be too low key.
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