More than skin deep: The Pacific beauty industry

Nama Fiji nama harvesting

Coconut oil is a staple in most Pacific households. It perfumes the air at many traditional events. We massage our babies with it, use it to treat hands roughened by sea, salt and soil (and a bowl too many of kava), comb it through our children’s hair and cook with it. 

It is also the fuel for a burgeoning number of Pacific beauty brands.

The global beauty industry is worth US$532 billion according to Forbes, and is expected to exceed $800 billion by 2025, following a dip due to COVID and the temporarily-altered lifestyles of many of its customers.

In 2019, the Asia-Pacific region made up 41% of the global cosmetic market, followed by the United States at 24%. Pre-COVID, 14% of the industry’s total revenue was made from online channels.

The industry is also at the forefront of many changes in global retail, marketing and business models; the drive to e-commerce, the importance of social media, influencers and peer-to-peer marketing for Millennial and young consumers, demand for products with good eco-credentials, and the emergence of young entrepreneurs from communities traditionally under-represented in the sector.

In the Pacific Islands region, the beauty sector is synonymous with coconut oil and a few large brands have built their businesses on this Pacific staple. – the Pure Fiji juggernaut, the Body Shop (now owned by Brazilian company Natura & Co) which sources key products from Samoa, and legacy brand, Parfumerie Tiki in Papeete, Tahiti. But there are many other businesses carving their own niches in this growing industry.

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