Shiseido overhauls collection in bid to woo new users

Russian skater Alina Zagitova at the Shiseido press conference in Tokyo last Wednesday.
Russian skater Alina Zagitova at the Shiseido press conference in Tokyo last Wednesday.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO • Shiseido, a 146-year-old Japanese beauty company, is having a makeover to add gloss to its profits. To attract more coveted consumers in their 20s and 30s, the company is overhauling its entire Shiseido make-up line and discontinuing almost 100 products.

It is being replaced with a new collection next month that marries popular Western trends such as bolder colours and matte cosmetics with Japanese flair for minimalist design and packaging that appeal to a younger crowd drawn to Asian beauty brands.

"What's important is we can recruit new users to the Shiseido brand," said chief executive Masahiko Uotani.

"We can now get into this new segment of younger consumers who are going to become long-term users for us."

Shiseido's share price has climbed more than 50 per cent so far this year.

The company, which operates millennial-friendly brands Laura Mercier and Nars, is betting huge on young consumers in a bid to keep up with the US$440-billion (S$602-billion) global beauty industry that has seen smaller brands gain followers while technology disrupts shopping habits.

Shiseido is targeting sales to grow 20 per cent to almost US$11 billion by 2020.

It is also enlisting 16-year-old Russian figure skater and Olympic champion Alina Zagitova to help the company sell high-end beauty products. The skater will be the new face of Shiseido in marketing campaigns later this year.

Key to the company's push among younger consumers is using the newly launched cosmetics line as a way to hook them into using Shiseido-branded items.

Make-up constitutes about 10 per cent of sales for the Shiseido brand, with the remaining revenue coming from skincare.

Mr Uotani said he wants to grow make-up sales to 30 per cent.

"We still have room to grow with younger, millennial consumers," he said. "They will use this and we will introduce skincare products to them as well."

The company will spend a record amount to market the new make-up collection in the second half of the year, said Mr Uotani.

It will roll out the products in 88 markets and expects them to sell best in the United States, Europe and Japan.

That will be followed by a launch in China, where sales of Nars-brand products targeting millennials are "sky-rocketing", he added.

But experts said the company must know how to apply a firm foundation to shine among its peers.

Jefferies Group LLC analyst Mitsuko Miyasako said: "Shiseido's always appealed to the mass market in the past, but now, people's preferences are fragmenting.

"The company has to figure out what kind of segment it wants to target and the image it wants to project."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2018, with the headline 'Shiseido overhauls collection in bid to woo new users'. Subscribe