The Top Players in the East African Beauty Market
L’Oreal is strategically expanding its presence in Africa with a focus on countries like Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria. In 2013, L’Oreal opened three branches in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, and a new plant in Egypt. L’Oreal’s presence spread to Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, over the last five years . It is building its presence in Uganda currently. In terms of brands and products, L’Oréal breaks into the market with mass products and affordable brands like Garnier and L’Oréal Paris; but also with hair care and body care products specifically dedicated to African needs like the SoftSheen-Carson brand, the first worldwide brand targeted towards African consumers, and Mizani (popular with hairdressing salons across East Africa). The Middle East and Africa segment is the fastest growing geographical segment for L’Oreal (approximately 15% year-on-year). Undoubtedly, L’Oreal is the biggest cosmetic brand in the overall study area. L’Oreal underlined its growing focus on the region by creating a new position – Head of the Africa Middle East zone – in 2013. L’Oreal has a 650 strong employee base and two plants in South Africa and Kenya. L’Oréal sold almost 140 million units in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014.
PROCTOR & GAMBLE
With an ambition to quadruple its sales in the overall African market by 2020, P&G is also reinforcing its presence by investing $174 million in the construction of a new plant in South Africa. However, facing recent low profit growth, the Group decided to slow down expansion in emerging countries by stopping new market entries and by focusing on the biggest African markets of South Africa and Nigeria.
Unilever calls Africa its next growth market and has ethnic hair-care brands such as Motions and Soft&Beautiful that are particularly popular in the East African markets. It also owns popular skincare lines, Ponds and Vaseline.
ORIFLAME EXPANDS IN EAST AFRICA
Oriflame Cosmetics has expanded its operations into East Africa by acquiring its businesses in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda previously run by a franchisee.
INDIAN GIANTS ENTER
Major Indian Groups like Marico and Godrej are also coming into the picture. Banking heavily on buyouts, Godrej Consumer Products (GCP) has made key acquisitions in Africa. Recently, they acquired a 51% take in Darling Group operations in Kenya, a market leader in Africa in the hair extension products. Prior to that, the company had acquired other beauty companies in Africa such as Tura, the Nigerian bodycare and cosmetic brand,and hair care brands such as Rapidol and Kinky.
The overall strategy of these Indian companies is to push acquired brands rather than to introduce Indian brands on the continent. A few days back, Godrej has acquired another hair care business in Africa, buying a 100% equity stake in South African hair extensions specialist Frika Hair (Pty) Ltd. Frika has a strong wholesale distribution capacity for it hair extension products that include braids, synthetic weaves, human hair weaves, wigs and hair-pieces. Its sales stood at $6.3 million in 2014.
Godrej already owns Rapidol, Kinky and Darling hair care brands in Africa, which generate annual revenue of $200 million. The $450 million Emami Group of Companies is looking to acquire a skin care business in sub-Saharan Africa and is planning to expand aggressively into sub-Saharan Africa. Emami’s Navratna Herbal brand is already popular in the East African markets as is Dabur Amla Hair Oil manufactured by Indian firm Dabur Indian Ltd.