The doctor is in: Shiseido acquisition of Dr. Dennis Gross enables it tap into ‘medicalisation’ of beauty

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Shiseido’s decision to add Dr. Dennis Gross to its portfolio could have been influenced by medi beauty trend. [Dr. Dennis Gross]
Shiseido’s decision to add Dr. Dennis Gross to its portfolio could have been influenced by medi beauty trend. [Dr. Dennis Gross]

Related tags Skin care Cosmeceutical Shiseido Us Japan Medi Beauty beauty trends

Shiseido’s decision to add cosmeceutical brand Dr. Dennis Gross to its portfolio could have been influenced by the increasing ‘medicalisation’ of beauty, says one analyst.

According to Mintel, the medicalisation of beauty refers to the increasing demand for proof behind claims and creating value through ingredient-led products.

This has resulted in an emphasis on the quality of ingredients and proven efficacy of products while using technology to simplify routines.

This is being driven by a multitude of factors, such as the demand for efficacy and transparency.

Furthermore, the heightened popularity for non-invasive aesthetic procedures has accelerated this trend.

“[In Japan,] keyword searches for botox (ボトックス) and thread lifting (糸リフト) also saw an upward trend over the past five years, indicating heightened consumer awareness and interest in medical procedures,” ​said Reiko Hasegawa, Mintel’s senior beauty and personal care analyst for Japan.

According to 2022 Mintel data, 37% of Japanese consumers “think it’s okay to have non-invasive surgery to improve one’s appearance”.

Hasegawa believes that these trends could have influenced Shiseido’s decision to acquire the US skin care brand.

At the same time, many consumers also find these procedures expensive, which has fuelled a demand for doctor-led, science-based skincare products that offer consumers an at-home alternative.”

Strategic acquisition

The Japanese beauty major announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Dr. Dennis Gross on December 22, 2023.

Gross is a former skin cancer researcher and a practising dermatologist who founded the eponymous brand in 2020 alongside his wife Carrie Gross, who is also the brand’s chief executive.

The brand became a cult favourite for its Alpha Beta Daily Peels, which are still the brand’s signature products today.

“Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare is an interesting addition to Shiseido's expanding portfolio of brands. The brand has the potential to complement Shiseido's offerings to customers globally, particularly those seeking a deeper understanding of product efficacy. It aligns with Shiseido's strategic focus on prioritising prestige beauty,” ​said Hasegawa.

She also highlighted the strategic significance this acquisition, noting that it was expected to benefit Shiseido by positioning it favourably for expansion and increased market share particularly in the United States.

“The acquisition of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, with its established presence in the US, can also help position Shiseido for growth in this market and meet evolving consumer needs in a competitive skin care industry.”

Hasegawa added that several Japanese cosmetic firms were already focusing on the US market for expansion.

With Shiseido's business extending its reach in the Americas, it is anticipated that other Asian companies will also explore similar growth strategies.

One such company is Kosé Corporation, which has made moves that signified their interest in reinforcing their presence in the US, said Hasegawa.

“One company to watch is Kosé Corporation, which has recently appointed Chinae Kim, who joins the company from Amorepacific US, as Vice President for Kosé America. The company has also launched its bestselling makeup brand ADDICTION TOKYO in the US market in 2023.”

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