Business Cosmetic Industry in Vietnam

1. Overview

According to the figure of Nielsen in 2013, the annual turnover of the Vietnamese cosmetics market is around 15 trillion VND (US$704.2 million).  The average per-capita spending was only $4 per person per year, compared with an average of $20 per person in Thailand. This indicates a huge potential for growth of this sector in Vietnam.

According to a report from The Society of Cosmetics of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has more than 400 cosmetics businesses, with 90% of the market share taken by foreign brands. Most of the popular domestic brands, such as Saigon CosmeticThorakao and Lan Hao only achieved low sale volume and mainly export to neighbouring Asian markets.

2.Consumer behavior

Vietnamese consumers are familiar with Korean brand cosmetics compared with cosmetics from other countries. The market share for cosmetics products by foreign countries is as follows: Korea – 30%, EU – 23%, Japan – 17%, Thailand – 13%, US – 10%, and others – 7%. The Korean cosmetic products are often associated with “brand of youth”, “affordable price”, and “being fashionable”. Vietnamese women often consider American products as “expensive”, “good quality” and “brands for adult” whereas Japanese products as “good quality” and “good value for money”.

The research of Q&Me shows that there is 44% of Vietnamese women usually wearing makeup in which 24% women wear makeup every day, 44% women wear makeup once a week. Thus, it underlines that wearing makeup every day is not popular for Vietnamese women.

In terms of sources for finding information about cosmetic, friends and website are the most popular source. The websites are usually designed for women such as, …

3.Domestic enterprises

Since there is a fierce competition of international cosmetic brands, Vietnamese enterprises in cosmetic industry is seeking to export or link with other international companies for new items. However, there have not been a lot of successful business which may include Cosmetics Manufacturing Company Limited Lan Hao (Thorakao), JSC Saigon Cosmetics, JSC Sao Thai Street…

According to Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao – Vice Chairman of HCM City Cosmetics Association, there are a few FDI enterprises stop production chain in Vietnam and moved to Malaysia, Thailand to enjoy preferential policies. Therefore, in Vietnam, the exported cosmetic product to Vietnam significantly increased.

According to Ms. Thao, even though importing and distributing cosmetics or machinery in this industry in Vietnam is the best solution to survive in the market, not many companies choose this solution.

“There are also cases which companies have modern production lines due to the cooperation with pharmaceutical companies to supply to the market, but they do not want to be published. Also some of cosmetics enterprises cooperate with foreign companies to product cosmetic products, but only retain only a few specific products to distribute in the domestic market. There are some small cosmetic enterprises forced to stop operation due to difficulties and fierce competition.”

Many free trade agreements between Vietnam and other countries has signed which put tariffs on exported good to 0% including cosmetic, thus this industry has longer attraction for domestic enterprise to invest in manufacture or production chain.

Majority Vietnamese cosmetic enterprises are still relatively young, thus only able to produce shampoo, shower gel … Most of cosmetic products used in spa are imported. Therefore, it is an opportunity for high-end foreign owned cosmetics brands to compete in Vietnam market. Specifically, cosmetic products which curse/reduce acne and treatment for oily skin, rejuvenate the skin, whiten skin and take care of hair are the best seller products.

According to Phuong Mai JSC, the trend of using natural products with 100% organic (organic) ingredients become the top choice of spa. So if any domestic brands catch up cosmetic this trend, they will succeed in finding a new direction for the cosmetic enterprises to compete in this industry in Vietnam.

Even if domestic enterprises are able to catch up with the current trend, Vietnamese enterprises still need to learn, update technology as well as knowledge and experience from the big corporations with turnover of billions dollars such as Korean business and hundred billions of baht  such as Thailand’s enterprises.

Vietnam enterprises are aware their position in this industry through different beauty exhibition. There have been many exhibitions of the beauty industry took place in Vietnam recently.

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