Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe setback in consumer spending in Africa, data shows that historically, sub-Saharan Africa has been in a much better economic standing than before COVID-19. Consumer spending in 1981 was $145.64 billion, whereas in 2021 it was over $1.2 trillion. This is a stark difference. Overall, there has been a 3.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in consumer expenditure in Africa since 2010 and this momentum shows no signs of stopping. An industry that is exploiting the enormous market potential of 1.7 billion people is Africa’s beauty industry. The market growth in the industry is estimated to be $1.26 billion between 2020 and 2025, with a CAGR of 2%.
Africa’s Burgeoning Youth and Urbanization
High fertility rates coupled with lower mortality rates have led to Africa having the world’s youngest population. About 70% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is less than 30 years old. Beauty and personal care products are favored by a younger demographic, who want to invest in fashion trends and their looks. This gives Africa the perfect leverage to boost its beauty and cosmetics industry.
It is estimated that by 2025, 45% of Africa’s population will be living in urban areas. According to McKinsey & Company, “per capita consumption spending in large cities in Africa is on average 79% higher at the city level than at the national level.”
Furthermore, as the country continues to develop, there is a shift from spending in informal markets (e.g., roadside stalls) to spending in more formal sectors, such as department stores, supermarkets, etc, according to Brookings. This is boosting beauty product sales.
Higher Purchasing Power
Over the last three decades, Africa’s middle class has tripled in size. By 2025, roughly 65% of African households will be earning more than $5,000, according to McKinsey & Company.
The increase in the number of people in the “discretionary spending income bracket” is likely to result in consumers increasing their spending on luxury items. This shift may also be due to a growing sense of personal hygiene among people and realizing the significant role that products such as soap, shampoo, etc. play in it. Africa’s beauty industry may help customers to realize and fulfill their body care goals.
It is no surprise that Africa’s beauty industry mainly caters to and is dominated by women. Greater access to education and high-paying jobs have increased the disposable income of African women. According to Beauty Africa, “…a significant chunk of [their] spending goes to the beauty and personal care products.”
Growth of E-Commerce
The GSM Association projects that by 2025, 615 million sub-Saharan Africans will subscribe to mobile services, 28% will have a 4G connection and 3% will have a 5G connection.
This will allow consumers to make electronic payments. In fact, mobile money “is growing five times faster in Africa than in any other region,” according to McKinsey & Company.
The evolution of e-commerce and fintech has made purchasing beauty products faster and easier. Additionally, technological advancements allow companies to better track market trends and profile customers, according to The Exchange.
Key Market Players
Nigeria’s beauty industry is attracting foreign direct investment because of its growing modern, fashion-conscious, female population. Her Imports, a U.S.-based hair-extension company, opened an outlet in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014. Patrick Terry, the CEO, said that their products were “performing sensationally in Africa,” according to Africa Business Pages.
According to The Guardian, the projected income for Her Imports from Africa “topped $100 million.”
South Africa is also a key market player. Between 2020-2025, it is expected that 53% of the market growth in Africa’s beauty industry will come from South Africa.
Many international companies are only now realizing Africa’s untapped potential. On May 27, 2022, global pop star Rihanna launched her beauty line, Fenty, in “South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.” The launch of this premium brand comes as great news for African women who wanted a better representation of their skin tones.
Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation Projects Helping
Infrastructure helps connect supply-demand chains, allows goods and services to move easily across borders and enhances overall efficiency in the production and consumption system. Improved infrastructure in the beauty and personal care industry not only generates more employment but also hikes up the sector’s growth rate, according to The Exchange. This increase in growth in turn attracts more investments for additional upgrades in infrastructure. This forms a continuous cycle that ultimately boosts the economic growth of Africa’s beauty industry.
Poverty alleviation projects could help people climb to the middle-income group and have greater purchasing power. Also, closing the gender gap and providing more women with education and equal opportunities could help them to earn income and spend it on the beauty and cosmetics market.
More private investment, advanced technology, improved infrastructure and greater contributions to poverty alleviation projects could help expand Africa’s beauty industry while keeping in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
– Anushka Raychaudhuri
It is undeniable that, right now, the makeup, skincare and haircare industries are flourishing globally and are predicted to continue their economic rise well into the future. According to Euromonitor International, in 2020, the beauty industry’s net profit reached $500.5 billion — a more than 5% increase from 2019. Broken down by category: general cosmetic care earned $307 billion, skincare acquired $145.2 billion, haircare collected $79.2 billion and premium beauty earned $139 billion. The industry’s forecast predicts an annual net profit of $756.63 billion by 2026.
Right now in Ghana, the beauty industry is experiencing a cultural role shift and growth in profit. The increasing population of young people is beginning to explore skin, beauty and hair care — and they’re looking locally. As this industry grows, Ghana-based brands are looking to do more than just provide beauty products. Through outreach programs and innovative business plans and programs, personal care companies are working to provide financial aid, job opportunities, equitable support and empower Ghanaian women. Here are three Ghana-based beauty brands empowering Ghanaian women in poverty.
3 Beauty Brands Empowering Ghanaian Women in Poverty
- FC Beauty Group Limited: Established more than 30 years ago in Ghana, FC Beauty Group Limited (FCBGL), not only provides and distributes high-quality hair and beauty products at a wholesale price to local salons but also hosts extensive outreach programs for impoverished women. FCBGL launched the Grace Amey-Obeng Foundation International in the summer of 2007. This foundation has made it a priority to aid Ghanaian women in poverty, with the purpose of providing young women an education, training and a sense of self. Through this program, FCBGL has focused its outreach to young homeless women, some of whom must engage in prostitution to financially support themselves. For women who engage in transactional sex consensually, the foundation provides them with skills to prevent difficulties in their profession. These skills include preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and exploitation. For women who do not wish to continue this work, the brand offers job prospects and training that allow them to change their economic direction. The brand continues its outreach work by partnering with the Osu Girls’ correctional facility to provide inmates with hirable skills for future economic success. FC Beauty Group Limited hosts another program titled the “Tutsi Project.” The Tutsi Project’s agenda is to act as insurance for the women who have completed FCBGL’s training programs and are now pursuing a career. Since its conception, the FC Beauty College has trained more than 6,000 economically successful students. Seed money is provided to women looking to start their own businesses. Many trainees are full-time mothers as well as entrepreneurs and FCBGL’s investment at the beginning of their career allows them to feel financially supported.
- Nokware Skincare: With old-school natural products and innovative ideas, the brand Nokware, meaning “truth,” creates all products from recipes and raw materials passed down through Ghanaian women’s lineage. Remaining local is an important piece of Nokware’s business plan and the brand solely uses materials that can be found and farmed by local African women. By practicing fair trade and pricing deals, Nokware can work towards its overall mission: economic inclusion. Recognizing the financial disparity many Ghanaian women face, this brand works to exclusively buy locally to put money back into the community and create a space for those who have been neglected in the workforce. By situating “community commerce” at the forefront of its company, Nokware works to stimulate the Ghanaian economy from the inside out. Empowerment of Ghanaian women in poverty is very important to Nokware Skincare. The brand works to accomplish that goal by primarily hiring women who face a substantial wage gap. Recognizing them as powerful resources, Nokware also staffs its executive boards and factory floors with Ghanaian women in an effort to minimize the prevalent wage gap in the country. The company’s “Nokware for Women” fund is an educational scholarship program available to the daughters of Nokware employees to diminish gender inequalities in education.
- True Moringa: Named after the extensive benefits of the plant found in northern Ghana, True Moringa is a brand that creates a diverse selection of products that all contain the oil of the True Moringa tree. On a trip with MIT’s D-Lab to Ghana, Kwai Williams and Emily Cunningham learned about the aforementioned tree, known as the “miracle tree,” from local farmers. The plant contains high levels of Vitamin A, calcium and protein. It also has the ability to grow and strengthen other crops in any climate. After learning this, Williams and Cunningham realized that the plant could minimize poverty and malnutrition in the country, and bring economic opportunities to farmers while providing consumers with high-quality skin and hair care products. The founders were aware of the lack of training, reliable commerce and income insecurity Ghanaian farmers face. As a result, they created a business plan that could compete with more established beauty brands and source locally to raise the monetary value of the brand’s contributing farmers. The company’s website states that the creation and application of the True Moringa brand has served more than 5,000 farming families, planted more than 2 million trees and increased local Ghanian farming revenue tenfold. In addition to the economic growth created through local sourcing, True Moringa allows customers to make an impact. With every purchase made, True Moringa will plant a tree which, in turn, combats deforestation and malnutrition in the small farming communities the brand works with. The True Moringa skin and hair care brand not only works to contribute to the beauty industry and empower Ghanaians by providing high-quality products, but also looks outside to create sustainable incomes and resources to empower Ghanaian women in poverty and their families.
All of these brands have created a positive impact on Ghanaian women in poverty. They have done so by looking beyond the cosmetic aspects of their products and focus on empowering women through their incomes, access to food and financial well-being. These brands have given hope to women and families for a better future, and have continued to walk alongside them as they move into a more financially secure future.
– Alexa Tironi
Nowadays, there are many beauty and makeup companies that are selling beauty products that donate to charity to aid different humanitarian causes.
Fundraising activities, partnering with nonprofit organizations for projects or giving donations through sales of their products are some examples that these companies use to support and advocate for good causes.
Brands like The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, LUSH, Philosophy, Mama Sopa, Balanced Guru, UNE Natural Beauty, Murad, MAC Cosmetics, GIVESCENT and Ten Thousand Villages use some, if not many, of their products to collect donations through their purchases.
Each brand supports different humanitarian causes such as AIDS reduction, poverty, hunger, water conservation and animal and environment protection, among other things.
Here are 10 beauty products that contribute to charity when purchased:
- All Philosophy products: According to Philosophy’s website, one percent of the sales of every Philosophy product will go to community-based organizations that support mental health. The brand commits to supporting mental health and well-being through their “Hope & Grace Initiative.”
- “Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream” by The Body Shop: This hand cream was available to buy early in 2015, and is accessible in all The Body Shop stores worldwide. The purchase of this product gives a donation of £1.50 to The Body Shop Foundation, a foundation that advocates for human rights and environmental and animal protection.
- Ten Thousand Villages soaps and creams: Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer company that works to empower artisans in developing countries. The company sells a variety of products ranging from jewelry to bath accessories. Their skincare products, such as soaps and creams, are made in places like Ghana, India, Israel and Zimbabwe, and their purchase contributes to helping artisans in these countries.
- “New Charity Pot” by LUSH: The “Charity Pot” is a body lotion created with natural ingredients by the cosmetic brand LUSH. With every purchase of this body lotion, 100 percent of the sale is donated to different organizations supporting human rights, animal welfare and environmental conservation.
- “Shark Fin Soap” by LUSH: This is a limited edition soap by cosmetic brand LUSH. Made with natural ingredients for Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of this item will go to organizations dedicated to the conservation and protection of sharks.
- “Viva Glam” products by MAC Cosmetics: Created by MAC Cosmetics, “Viva Glam” is a lip makeup collection that donates 100 percent of the price for every purchased product. These donations go to the MAC AIDS Fund, which addresses the relation between poverty and HIV/AIDS and supports various organizations around the globe. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Ricky Martin, Nicki Minaj and Boy George are some of the artists that have participated in the “Viva Glam” campaign.
- All GIVESCENT products: This brand has a collection of Italy-inspired scents. The purchase of any bottle of GIVESCENT supports women worldwide as well as different women-centered campaigns. Some of the organizations that the brand supports are Every Mother Counts and Women for Women International.
- “Fund-raising Lip Balm” by UNE Natural Beauty: This natural product, created by UNE Natural Beauty, donates £1 to Plan, a children’s charity. The lip balm’s donations are destined to support a project by Plan that provides education to girls in Cameroon.
- “Live Beautifully Set” by Murad: This Murad’s limited-edition set includes an eye cream and an inspirational book by Dr. Murad. Ten percent of the sale results in a donation that supports the Murad Esthetics Scholarship Program through the Beauty Changes Live Foundation.
- All Mama Sopa products: Created for a social hygiene project for The Dutch Simavi Foundation, Mama Sopa is a collection of shower gels, soap bars and hand soaps with a good purpose.
According to an article published by The Dieline, every Mama Sopa product sold gives hygienic trainings by The Dutch Simavi Foundation to vulnerable mothers in East India.
– Diana Fernanda Leon
In honor of International Women’s Day, L’Occitane has created a fair trade soap that supports women in their efforts to achieve economic independence. The soap is produced in Burkina Faso in a completely female-run factory, for which L’Occitane has provided support and training. The company has been working with women in Burkina Faso in efforts to achieve economic emancipation since 2006. By working with Aide et Action, they have helped put in place literacy centers throughout Burkina Faso, resulting in the strengthening of income-generating activity for women.
All proceeds made from the shea butter soap (that retails for just $8) will go towards building literacy programs and centers in Burkina Faso. Every soap bar sold can be considered as donating 3 bricks that will be utilized to build a new literacy center. From soap sales, L’Occitane, with its partners in Aide et Action and women in Burkina Faso, hopes to collect €63,000, which is equivalent to approximately $831,364.5, in the year 2013.
The soap can be seen as something that brings women together and helps empower them separately from their male counterparts. Since 2006, L’Occitane has helped almost 2,000 women become literate and even more (approximately 5,000 more) improve their literacy skills. With the building of even more literacy centers in Burkina Faso, these numbers can only go up.
If interested in buying a bar of soap in support of women achieving economic emancipation, visit L’Occitane’s website.
– Angela Hooks