L’oreal’s India business grows as selfie-lovers want their photos to be ‘worth it’

L'oreal brand ambassador Deepika PadukoneL'oreal Facebook
  • In an interview with Business Insider, L’oreal MD Amit Jain talks about how social media has triggered demand.
  • L’oreal now wants to be a beauty tech company for whom e-commerce is a big vertical.
  • The National Skill Building Council of India wants to partner with the company to create curriculums for training beauty advisors.
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The global beauty giant L’oreal completes 25 years in India this year, and it registered a like-for-like sales growth of 20% in 2018. And, they have social media to thank for it.

There is a ‘need’ to take more selfies than ever, to post on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Understandably, they want to look good and that’s triggered growth in cosmetic sales, L’oreal.

In an interview with Business Insider, L’oreal India MD Amit Jain spoke about how the company is cashing in on the popularity of social media, by growing online and offline as well.

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Growing business thanks to Facebook, YouTube and TikTok

When Jain came back to India three years ago, he was stunned by the popularity of smartphones in the country and the millennial love for selfies.

“Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, consumers started posting photos and videos of themselves on these platforms and that spawned the digital piece for us,” said Jain.

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Mobile and social media are the two biggest drivers of the 5 billion Euro beauty industry. Though right now the consumption in India is at a mere 3.8 Euros per head.

To target this social media loving populace, L’oreal is taking its marketing and sales right to their consumers. Around 25% of L’oreal’s media budget is spent on digital advertising, which grew over 90% since 2017. They have also partnered with players like Amazon and Nykaa.

“We have selected digital education and e-commerce as growth drivers along with the unique benefit that L’oreal has with its online and offline presence,” said Jain.

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Asia is the fastest growing market for L’oreal where recently China overtook North America in sales. Naturally, the company is sharpening focus on India.

The Quest for Beauty

Today, India has one of the highest numbers of beauty searches on Google. And, L’oreal sees an opportunity to teach Indians about beauty with a content division.

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“We picked up three trends – video, voice and vernacular. We now partner with beauty advisers, whom we have trained, to create content which is meaningful. Vernacular is a huge piece in this,” said Jain.

Globally, the company has been chasing beauty tech as it acquired a Canadian tech company called Modiface. The company uses augmented reality to help consumers try different looks. This feature will soon be brought to India, said Jain.

L’oreal is also in the business of beauty education. It trains over 2 lakh hairdressers in India in a year. “The National Skill Building Council of India wants to partner with us to create curriculums for training beauty advisors,” informed Jain.

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Make in India

L’oreal has two research and innovation centres in Mumbai and Bengaluru which are global centres.

“Typically L’oreal works on a few global manufacturing facilities, but in india we went for the Make in India approach and created a footprint with manufacturing units in Pune, Himachal, and now in Haridwar,” said Jain.

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And, it has paid off. Products made in India are now exported to support Indonesia and others. In fact, it has also Indianised a few products which have become successful globally.

“Something as popular or common as henna-based products which might not work as much in India have been a big hit for us in Europe,” said Jain.
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