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Japan’s largest cosmetics firm Shiseido bets on India growth with first launch in a decade

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Shiseido Co. is launching its first makeup brand in India in almost a decade, bringing popular line NARS Cosmetics to local beauty shops as it seeks to carve out a share of the booming consumer market.

Japan’s largest cosmetic company has partnered with Indian retailer Shoppers Stop Ltd.’s Global SS Beauty Brands and will open 14 stores in New Delhi and Mumbai this year, said Nicole Tan, head of Asia Pacific at Shiseido. It will also market NARS through LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE’s Sephora shops, she said.

Indian consumers are “immensely” interested in color cosmetics, Tan said in an interview, referring to the industry term for products like eyeshadow, lipstick and blush. “We are also entering into a segment that speaks to the consumer who’s looking for individuality, particularly in the higher-end, premium prestige segments.”

Global brands are being drawn to the world’s most-populous country, betting that its young shoppers and rising affluence will fuel expansion over the longer term. India’s cosmetic products market is projected to grow 4.2% a year over the next five years, driven by the popularity of the color cosmetics sector, according to a report by research firm Mordor Intelligence.
The new launch may also help Shiseido diversify its earnings. The firm generated a quarter of its ¥494 billion ($3.3 billion) in first-half sales in Japan and about the same percentage in China. The rest of the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 6.2%. The firm’s fresh foray into India follows a previous retreat. Shiseido shut a subsidiary selling Za cosmetics in 2015, a little over a year-and-a-half after its entry into the Indian market, as the business fell short of expectations. How NARS fares may also influence future offerings. Shiseido plans to introduce more brands to India as it sees increasing demand from consumers who are internet and social-media savvy and have more awareness of international names, Tan said, without providing specific details.“India is a market that’s high potential” but it’s also a market that is not a fast play, she said. “India is known as a market that you have to invest, nurture, and grow.”

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