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Argentina proving a tough nut to crack

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 10-Mar-2014
Last updated the 10-Mar-2014 at 16:36 GMT

While neighboring Brazil continues to dominate in the global beauty industry, a spotlight recently shone on Argentina by market research firm Euromonitor reveals brands are finding it much tougher going over the border.

Import restrictions couple with consumer preference for product availability over brand loyalty to create a tricky climate for international brands attempting to assert themselves within the country, according to the research firm.

Argentina remains a point of focus for the industry despite the market’s unpredictable nature; although consumers’ disposable incomes are increasingly threatened by inflation and tax increases, sales continued to rise in 2013.

Male grooming struggles

Unlike in Brazil, male grooming is not taking off in Argentina.

Brazil’s rapid expansion in the sector, according to Euromonitor analysts, looks set to continue. “Men’s grooming continues to show excellent growth in Brazil as the male consumer becomes more vain and willing to try products that go beyond shaving,” notes the firm.

The story over the border in Argentina, however, is completely reversed.

Argentine men still largely reject “metro-sexual” culture and more complex grooming routines. Thus, most sales in men’s grooming are limited to the traditional offer of razors and deodorants,” says the research firm.

Dove offers a key example of brand perseverance with the sector despite this consumer disinterest, having launched a ‘men-only’ shampoo in an attempt to wean male consumers off using their female partner’s conditioner, which, according to Unilever, one in three currently do.

Euromonitor suggests these attempts are unlikely to change consumer behavior patterns any time soon though.

Only high-end products are performing similarly to other markets in Latin America, but mass men’s products still have a long way to go in changing cultural habits.

The starkly different situations for male grooming show that targeting focus for specific countries within the wider region is essential for brands looking to leverage Latin America’s beauty potential.

Operating from within

Imports faced greater restrictions over 2012 and 2013, restricting international brands’ presence in the country. This couples with Argentinian consumer preference for product availability over a sense of brand loyalty to present a barrier for international brands.

According to Euromonitor, this consumer behavior “is partly because of the wide variety of products available and consumer enthusiasm to evaluate every option in the market as Argentinean consumers are considered some of the most demanding customers in the region.”

Brands which have set up shop manufacturing via local bulk producers are therefore leading the way. A prime example is Avon, which is seeing especially big gains in the currently rising nail color segment.  

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