Thailand, top regional cosmetics producer, hosts meet

Thai people have long been legendary for the beauty, but Thailand is also gaining a reputation in the beauty industry as the region’s top manufacturer of cosmetics and as a developer of original Thai brands beginning to make their own mark internationally, as Bangkok hosted an international beauty industry trade show last week.

“Thailand is the de facto top original equipment manufacturer in the region for international cosmetic brands and the production base for several premium products. On a global scale, Thailand is ranked 17th in production of cosmetics,” said Ketmanee Lertkitcha, chairwoman of the cosmetics industry group at the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The “Beyond Beauty ASEAN-Bangkok” tradeshow at the Impact Center in Muang Thong Thani that ran from September 21-23 showcased more than 650 exhibitors with pavilions from companies in China, Britain, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Spain and Taiwan. The show drew roughly 20,000 visitors.

Despite the long roster of international firms, about 45 percent of exhibitors were Thai companies. Thailand is one of the developing nations driving growth in the cosmetics industry across the Asia-Pacific region, according to market research firm Euromonitor, which said the region accounts for nearly a third of global sales in the beauty and personal care industry.

Within Thailand, the market for beauty products has been steadily expanding. In 2016, total sales rose by 6.5 percent to over $4.6 billion. Skin care products took 46 percent of all sales, hair care products accounted for 19 percent, make up made up 14 percent of sales, while fragrances and other products came in at 21 percent.

“Thailand dominates the market share for ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), controlling up to 60 percent of the cosmetics market or 168 billion baht a year, excluding exports worth $362 million a year. This huge market size has long attracted many foreign and local brands to create and offer innovations here to lure customers,” Ketmanee of the FTI said.

Among the Thai cosmetic and personal care brands that have gained international recognition are Panpuri, Harnn, Oriental Princess and Thann. In less than two decades, Thann has expanded from one boutique in Bangkok to 80 shops and 20 spas around the world. Its products are a house brand for Marriott Hotels and are standard fare in the rooms at 400 Marriott properties around the world as well as for sale on the Marriott website.

Thann founder Tony Suppattranont believes Thailand has an advantage as far as raw materials are concerned. “So many of the ingredients in our cuisine and our cosmetics are the same,’’ he says. His company’s first personal care product was a soap made from rice bran oil, and Thann was the first cosmetics firms to develop personal care products made from Shiso leaf extract. Now, many global manufacturers have followed suit.

Thann is lucky, Tony said, that Thailand was already a major player in the cosmetics industry, because that allowed him to find the skilled workers, laboratories and testing facilities to ensure his products match the highest global standards.

Photo courtesy of Facebook/beyondbeautyasean