“Beauty” the very word has many connotations in our country. Each part of the country views and gives meaning to this word differently. This has been an integral part of the society since the ages of the Indus Valley Civilization. We have all known that both men and women have used products and ornaments to “beautify” themselves generally and definitely on occasions.

Hence the industry for beauty products, now commonly referred to as the Beauty & Personal Care Industry, is not a new one in India. Colloquially they are referred as the Cosmetics. Over the last few decades, the nature and composition of the industry has undergone many changes and it has now emerged as an important sector in the Indian Economy.

What are Cosmetics?

Cosmetics are products that are intended to be applied on the human body to protect, cleanse or enhance its appearance. All the personal care or cosmetic products are intended for external application on the body.

“Grooming” refers to the act of people taking the effort to enhance the external appearance. All humans, across the globe, spend a lot of time and money in their grooming – just to ensure that they turn out their best when appearing in public space. People have known to be grooming themselves for various occasions - be it a festival, function, work or even day to day life. Cosmetics play an important part in grooming; it has gained popularity in the last 3-4 decades and its use has increased exponentially both in males and females.

Personal care products are generally classified by the area of application but can also be described based on the product composition. These products can be liquid or cream emulsions, powders (pressed or loose), dispersions, or anhydrous creams or sticks.

These products can be categorized as:

  1. Skin Care: It consists of products that can cleanse and replenish the skin. It is also used to protect the skin from the UV rays, bacteria and germs. This includes all cleansers, toners, masks (sheet, clay, charcoal, exfoliants, peel off), face wash and scrubs, serums, moisturizers and sunscreens.
  2. Hair Care: It consists of products that can cleanse the scalp and hair and improve its appearance and therefore includes all the shampoos, conditioners, serums, hair oils, hair dyes, styling products like gels, waxes, foams, creams, mousse and pomades.
  3. Cosmetics: These products are used to enhance the appearance of the face or completely change the appearance of the face. They include primers, concealers, foundations, rouge or blusher, bronzer, highlighter, eyebrow products (pencils, creams, gel and waxes), eyeshadow, eye liner, false eyelashes, mascara, lip products (lipstick, lip gloss, lip balms, lip liners), face powder and setting spray, and nail polish.
  4. Fragrances: Used to produce long lasting smell. They include all perfumes and deodorants.

The Global Industry Overview

Grooming has today become an essential part of peoples’ day to day lives. The constant pressure of social media, the changing trends in the work culture and the desire to look their best always are factors that have pushed most people to pay attention to grooming. This obviously has significantly contributed to the growth of the Beauty and Personal care industry.

The millennials and the generation Z are the major consumers and contributors to this industry. These products have a psychological effect too as they not only enhance one’s appearance but looking good also boosts their confidence. It’s not just women, but men too have started focusing on looking after themselves. These lifestyle changes also are an important contributor to the industry growth and its growing popularity.

Market statistics in a nutshell:

  • The global Beauty and Personal Care Market is ruled by the conglomerates such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal.
  • The global market is estimated to be at USD 565 billion (INR 42000 billion) by the end of 2022 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 4.76% annually till 2026.
  • USA is the leader in this segment with a market share of 16% of the total market (USD 90 billion i.e. INR 6750 billion).
  • Personal care products accounts for almost 45% of the market with a volume of USD 254 billion (INR 19000 billion)
  • 25% of this total market is through online sales

The Indian Scenario

The emphasis on beauty and personal care & grooming began in the last decade of the 20th century and this has strengthened substantially in the past 10-12 years. Changing lifestyles, growing awareness and the increase in the younger population in the workforce are the key drivers for the growth of this industry in India.

While global brands are very popular, the domestic brands such as Lakme, Dabur and Godrej have had a strong loyalty amongst the consumers. The last few years have witnessed a shift towards natural and organic personal care products and this has seen the emergence of various specialized local brands such as MamaEarth, Khadi Essentials, SoulTree etc. The Covid 19 pandemic created a major shift in the purchase of these products in the country. Ecommerce boom began then and companies like Nykaa and MyGlamm capitalized on the opportunity to create personalized offerings to the customers at the doorstep. And it is predicted that the country will witness a substantial growth in this segment in the coming years.

  • India currently ranks 4th in terms of volume in the global market.
  • The current market for beauty & personal care in India is valued at USD 26 billion (INR 2000 billion) with a CAGR of 4.65% till 2026
  • The personal care segment is the largest and is estimated to be USD 12.3 billion (INR 900 billion)
  • The cosmetics segment accounts for USD 5.8 billion (INR 435 billion)
  • The online segment which was valued at USD 3 billion (INR 225 billion) in 2020 is expected to double at USD 6 billion (INR 450 billion) by the end of 2025; and this is expected to be the major game changer in the Indian beauty & personal care sector

The New Trends in the Industry

With digitalization and people wanting quality over quantity the industry has seen various changes and inclusion of new products. The following trends seen in the past couple of years is likely to impact the growth of the industry this decade in India.

  • Due to the demand for more transparency with regard to formulations and type of packaging from the consumers, companies have started researching ways to reduce plastic and to come up with formulations that include organic and natural materials. The list of beauty and cosmetic products with sustainable and climate-neutral formulations and packaging is growing. Companies are paying more attention to their ecological footprint and are committed to climate protection.
  • With the celebrities and influencers endorsing and promoting male cosmetic products to remove the stigmatization around men using beauty and cosmetic product, there has been increase in the products available for men. Companies are looking to cater to personal care needs for men. This niche will see many more new innovations.
  • Since the public outcry against cosmetic products being catered for white people and centered around fairness the companies have introduced new all-inclusive products. These products cater to a wider range of consumers.
  • With more people understanding the benefits of skin care and personal care products and how they are more effective to protect the skin from ageing and wrinkles, use of skin care products is increasing. A lot of new products have been launched and companies are looking for a way to inculcate formulations that can act as both make up and skin care.

Needless to say, India is at the crossroads of a dynamic change. The growing disposable income, the more aware and hence demanding consumer as well as the leaning tendency towards natural care will be the growth drivers for this sector.

Career Opportunities

A pharmacist can play an important role in the personal care and cosmetic industry. Having been exposed to cosmetic science and formulations, these professionals have the technical knowledge that is looked for by prospective employers of the industry. Pharmaceutics and Cosmetology are very closely related. And hence this industry offers similar opportunities as the pharmaceutical industry. On the technical front, one could enter the R & D to innovate new formulations and become a cosmetic research scientist, be a chemist in the QA and QC department or work in the regulatory function as well. Those with a flair on the commercial side could begin their career in sales, transition to the marketing department or make a career in the exciting advertising and communication function. Today, in India as well as overseas, a variety of online certificate and specialized courses are available to upskill and make oneself stand out and grow in the career. Specific courses in fragrance and perfume technology gives a pharmacist the niche to enter the fragrance industry in various roles such as perfumer and scent designer.

Clearly, unlike the past, this decade will offer many exciting areas to explore in the industry. And as the saying goes - “beauty is power; a smile is its sword” – a niche career in the industry of enhancing appearance will certainly be an unmatched power for many!!!