DUBAI: The Middle East and Africa (MEA) will be the fastest-growing region in beauty and personal care products over the next five years, Ahmad Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The MEA’s $25.4 billion (Dh93.21 billion) market will grow by 6.4 per cent a year over the next five years, according to research by Euromonitor International. Globally, the sector is expected to grow 3 per cent a year.

Markets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which together account for a quarter of the MEA’s market, will grow by 12 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively. Saudi Arabia dominates the overall sales market, with a national $5.3 billion spend in 2015, but the UAE has the highest per capita spend at $239 in 2015.

Although the UAE’s per capita spend will still be the region’s highest in five years, at $295, Saudi Arabia will close the gap, with individual spend increasing from $168 in 2015 to $273 in 2020.

The predictions are based on economic trends and interviews with industry professionals, said Iyad Hijjawi, business development consultant with Euromonitor International.

The survey predicted the share of premium beauty products in Saudi Arabia would grow from 54 per cent in 2015 of the market to 60 per cent in 2020, with the UAE’s premium market share increasing from 48 per cent to 50 per cent in the same period.

Local brands have seen exceptional growth over the past five years, with Arabian Oud seeing a 177 per cent increase in sales between 2010 and 2015, making it the fifth best-selling brand in the MEA, up from 10th place in 2010. Abdul Samad Al Qurashi saw 140 per cent sales growth over the same period, to move from 15th to 9th place.

Pauwels said Messe Frankfurt’s business-to-business Beautyworld 2016 exhibition, to take place from May 15-17, would see exhibitors from 21 countries, including more than 200 from the UAE. Exhibition space would increase 8 per cent to 7,000 square metres.

With sales of $5.8 billion, fragrances and perfumes were the region’s best-selling product types in 2015, followed by hair care ($4.2 billion) and skin care ($3.5 billion), according to Euromonitor’s survey.

Most consumers bought products based on their own experience, recommendations from friends, or advice from doctors. Most professionals bought products based on discounts, free samples or social media buzz.

Key trends in the beauty sector at the moment include natural products, personalised products and services and reinvention. “These are little changed from last year,” said Hejjawi.


Growing market for halal care products

There is a growing interest in and demand for halal beauty products, Nazih Hamad, CEO of Nazih Group.

The Dubai government is the first to certify such products, he said.

“A lot of companies in Europe are asking us how they can get a halal certificate,” he said. “They believe it will add mreo value to their products.”

“It is a market in itself. I think other countries will follow [Dubai’s] steps, particularly Saudi Arabia,” added Euromonitor International consultant Iyad Hejjawi.

Hamad said the main issue beauty product manufacturers needed to address were use of raw materials derived from pork or human enzymes.

“In other countries, this is normal. It’s not forbidden. But in our country and religion to use a product from pork is not allowed,” Hamad added.

Another potential problem was manufacturers not clean machines properly after using haram products.