Dow Chemical and Amway upbeat on Thai cosmetics market

Thailand’s burgeoning cosmetics and personal care market is looking ever more attractive to producers and retailers, according to executives of two major American firms, Dow Chemical, the multinational conglomerate, and Amway, the direct-selling company, both headquartered in Michigan.

Curtis Creed, Southeast Asia director at Dow Consumer Solutions, said that retail in Thailand has evolved from traditional counter brands to multi-brand beauty stores and online platforms where consumers look for products promoted by social media influencers and beauty bloggers. New sales channels are producing strong growth, and Dow intends to take advantage of them.

“Dow is also very keen on expanding the cosmetics and personal care business to consumers, mainly through the digital platform,” Creed said.

He noted that both Thailand and Indonesia are promising markets for cosmetics and personal care products because of their large populations that are also aging, and their relatively high purchasing power.

“Euromonitor (research agency) reported that the local market size for beauty and personal care grew by 6.8 percent to 198 billion baht ($6.08 billion) in 2017, driven by an aging population, social media trends and consumer behavior. The local market is predicted to reach 300 billion baht ($9.14 billion) by 2022, led by a parade of various cosmetics and personal care products,” Creed said.

Dow has a major presence in Thailand, although it does not manufacture ingredients for cosmetics in the Kingdom. Dow’s 16 facilities in Thailand make the country its largest production center in Asia. Dow sells about 49 percent of what it produces in Thailand domestically, and exports the rest across the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the Thai unit of Amway, the direct-selling company from the United States, also said last week that rising sales of cosmetics and personal care products were fueling solid growth for his company.

Kittawat Ritteerawee said young and active consumers were buying more beauty and health products than before and attributed some of the growth to the advent of online or digital sales.

“People are willing to pay for products that come with better technologies and innovations for well-being,” Kittawat said.

He is expecting 4 percent growth in sales for Amway Thailand in 2018, better than the 3 percent industry average for the direct-selling industry, and total sales of $580 million.