By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Even in a third world country that is the Philippines, Luxasia, one of the biggest distributor of international luxury brands in the region, is optimistic about its planned expansion. There's more and more Filipinos shopping for brands that are way more expensive, it said.
Luxasia Global Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Baier said in a briefing that the Philippines is poised to be a growth pillar in the Asia Pacific region in terms of global beauty sales, backed by the growing preference over upscale cosmetics, perfume, and skincare brands.
The Philippine luxury market particularly rose by 40 percent between 2013 and 2018 and most of them belonged to domestic sales.
The increase of the middle class and the channel shift in consumer preferences from mass to premium are driving this growth, Baier said.
In the Philippines, the Luxasia Group has been in operation for 30 years and has been instrumental in shaping the luxury retail segment with brands like Bvlgari, Calvin Klein, and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as skin care brands such as PeterThomasRoth and Shisheido.
But it's not only that more and more people are buying products like these, the market is also getting younger, said Luxasia Country Manager Cristina Sabarre.
For expensive skincare products, it's no longer just women and men in their late 30s who buy it. According to Sabarre, people in their early and mid 20s also buy them. It's the same trend for the luxury color cosmetics or make-up products, with people as young as 18 years old actively buying their brands.
Baier said aside from the traditional marketing efforts, it's the social media that is becoming the major driving force of this growth.
It couldn't be more true, with the Philippines actually having the largest social media penetration in the world. A data provided by Hootsuite and We Are Social showed that the total number of internet users in the Philippines has also grown from 4.24 billion to 4.39 billion since January this year. Each user also spends nearly 10 hours a day being online.
To take advantage of this, Luxasia is now looking at expanding its distribution channels. With people seeing their products online more frequently, the company also wants to improve its product distribution nationwide.
"There is a growing patronage . We are not in some of these provinces yet, but we are looking geographic expansion," Sabarre said, adding that the company is planning to set up boutiques in Cebu and Davao.
Aside from boutiques and pop-up stores in malls, Luxasia products are also being sold in online marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee, and BeautyMNL.