Sarita Mehta, 45 (name changed), who sells saris door-to-door in Pune, saves money every three months to get a face job done. And no, we are no talking about a routine facial or eyebrow shaping here. Mehta visits celebrity doctor and dermatologist Rashmi Shetty in Mumbai to erase marionette lines (laugh lines) on her face or get a few shots of Botox to keep wrinkles at bay.
“It is not just people who are in showbiz who come for fillers and peels but ordinary individuals who are constantly propelled by the need to look good. People are getting fanatical about looks, like elsewhere across the globe,” says Shetty, who run a cosmetic clinic in Mumbai.
The number of patients coming for anti-ageing solutions, she says, has increased almost five-fold in the last decade, even though the costs remain high.
While Cleopatra may have dunked herself in ass’s milk to stay young, modern-day Cleopatras can find the best of beauty services at a dermatologist’s clinic, a specialised beauty salon and even products focusing on anti-ageing.
With the trend in skincare veering from fairness to anti-ageing, companies are looking to make both products and services more accessible, more result-oriented and are trying to demystify the business.
Besides new product launches, companies are taking brands to smaller towns, tweaking store sizes and even acquiring overseas firms to cater to the latest fad.
“It is no longer just about products but technology. Indian consumers in the metros particularly are as aware as anywhere globally. They know about peels, lasers and even minimally invasive procedures that are popular elsewhere. To us, this represents a huge shift in mindset,” Arvind R. P., Head - Marketing, Kaya Skincare points out.
Growing at a fast clip
According to a report by FICCI, the Rs 29,000-crore beauty care market has grown at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent in 2012 and is expected to grow approximately 40 per cent by 2015 (to touch Rs 49,000 crore).
Kaya Skin Clinic, which is a technology-led cosmetic firm said it has invested heavily in the latest technology. “Anti-ageing is a huge opportunity and we have invested in the latest technology to cater to the clients,” he adds.
Arvind says anti-ageing as a category was growing at 30- 35 per cent. “We are looking to strengthen the minimally invasive services portfolio with new products and services.”
According to various estimates, the anti-ageing market in India is a fraction of the global market.
Arvind quotes the FICCI report to say that the minimally invasive space has seen a 100 per cent growth in 2011-12.
He says that minimally invasive/non-invasive and surgical procedures constitute Rs 700-800 crore of the overall anti-ageing market. Out of this share, minimally invasive services account for 60 per cent as opposed to surgical treatments.
“This is an interesting trend that suggests that Indians are moving towards skin cure services that are convenient, cost and time-effective. Moreover, non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures which mainly fall in the anti-ageing category, have overtaken surgical procedures due to lower cost, shorter duration and lesser recovery time associated with the former,” he added.
Raghu Kumar, Managing Director, Allergan India, says, “In India, the anti-ageing market is not quite evaluated. There is no published data that will tell you about the size of the market. As per our estimate, the market is growing by 30-50 per cent year-on-year. Primarily, the growth is coming from increase in awareness of options. The anti-ageing market can be divided into two segments. One is the market for topical creams and ointments. This is different from the market for semi-invasive procedures like Botox and Juvederm.
Kumar adds that the market for the latter is smaller than the former but it is witnessing fast growth. “In some advanced countries procedures like Botox and fillers like Juvederm are among the leading anti-ageing treatments being availed of by people. In India the anti-ageing market has really taken off in the last 5-6 years and we are making efforts to create awareness in users about the doctor-administered procedures. The semi-invasive procedures are very simple but they have to be done with experts’ help,” he adds.
Newer players are entering the space. Pevonia International, a provider of anti-ageing solution to spas, is introducing a micro-retinol range of skin products. It says the company is introducing over 300 products for the Indian market.
“We have been present in India for the last seven-eight years. But the demand for anti-ageing products has made us introduce a range of skin solutions. These are not over-the-counter products but specialised treatments which will have to be availed of at a spa over multiple sittings,” says Ron Jean, Director of International Business Development, Pevonia International.
Jean notes that no more are anti-ageing products meant only for those aged 45 and above as some of its treatments can begin at the age of 30. Jean points that some of the treatments are priced at Rs 55,000, over multiple sessions.
Home-grown wellness and slimming firm VLCC recently bought a controlling stake of 80 per cent in Singapore-based Global Vantage Innovative Group (GVig). GVig provides wellness solutions through its subsidiaries BelleWave Cosmetics in the skin and haircare category, Celblos Dermal Research Centre, which offers dermatological solutions, and Enavose Life Science Research, which offers a range of Swiss-made skincare and body wellness solutions.
Mukesh Luthra, Chairman, VLCC Group, says, “The acquisition will give us a foothold in dermatological solutions. It will also help us gain access into GVig’s wellness products, research and development laboratory and manufacturing facilities.”
Consumer profiles are also changing. About five to six years ago, a typical client would be in her late thirties to mid-forties. But now patients as young as twenty come in for such treatments. Shetty says the need to look good has fuelled demand such that every major hospital has aesthetic and cosmetic wings.
Procedures such as Botox for crow’s feet, peels and micro-dermabrasion for skin resurfacing, Thermage for non-surgical facelifts, and Fraxel for scars and rejuvenation are among the popular procedures.
Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are investing heavily in R&D. It is not just cosmetic firms but even pharma firms which are placing orders for anti-ageing products.
Satyaki Ghosh, Director, Consumer Products Division, L’Oréal India, says, “The anti-ageing segment is roughly five per cent of the skincare market in India and is growing at five per cent (Ytd September 2010). Today, fairness is to India what anti-ageing is to the rest of the world. The skew is, however, changing gradually. At L’Oreal we have anti-ageing products across brands and price points.”
Ghosh notes that the reason the pricing has been kept premium was because “anti-ageing is a sophisticated category with a number of years of research behind it”. L’Oreal also sells an anti-ageing mass range, Garnier Wrinkle Lift.
He says: “Anti-ageing is a different category and we are targeting different consumer segments with specific propositions. In India, people usually look for moisturising with clean-looking skin from their fairness products. Anti-ageing is much more sophisticated, scientific and sharply targeted. It is a fast-growing market, with skin consciousness seeping in earlier thanks to global exposure, increase in spending power, the rise of parlours. The average consumer of anti-ageing products is 35 +, urban and from a higher socio-economic status. Preventive anti-ageing with Indian climate-friendly formulas such as serums are also popularising the category”.
“Wrinkle Lift was the first anti-ageing product launched in India in the price bracket of Rs 130-240. In fact, in 1995, when Garnier launched skincare under the Synergie brand name, it chose to enter with an anti-wrinkle cream instead of a fairness or a cold cream,” Ghosh notes.
Allergan’s Kumar says the younger generation is more receptive to and more aware of anti-ageing procedures than the older generation.
“People in their late 20s and 30s, especially those in customer-facing roles are more Internet-savvy, are more aware as well as willing. Today companies know the nature of this consumer and they are targeting the social media increasingly to target them. They are increasingly using the Internet as a medium. It requires a two-way communication. Campaigns are being run on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms apart from traditional methods of advertising.”
Ankur Bisen, Senior Vice-President - Retail, Technopak, says, “Certainly the growth is in double digits. Both products and services are complementary in the anti-ageing war. It is not an either-or situation as consumers are looking for a bouquet of services. Nobody knows whether there are fetching results but in the end companies have managed to convince consumers to open their purse-strings, which is resulting in double digit growth”.