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Coty is set to boost its presence in its core beauty categories via the US$12 billion bid it has reportedly won for Procter & Gamble’s spin-off beauty brands. Coty is undergoing significant changes; it is reducing its reliance on fragrances which generates most of its revenue (50% in 2014) and is now seeking to diversify its portfolio in terms of both category and region. The purchase of Wella and Clairol, if completed, will see Coty’s entry into hair care at global fifth position, whilst the purchase of Max Factor and Cover Girl will double the company’s global value share of colour cosmetics and the integration of Procter & Gamble’s prestige fragrances would see Coty rise to hold the leading global position in fragrances. However, Coty will continue to be challenged by the geographic reach of many of these newly purchased brands as their performances have historically been subdued as a result of their narrow focus on mature markets. Cover Girl generated 88% of its 2014 sales in North America and registered a sales decline between 2009 and 2014. Clairol meanwhile witnessed negative growth during this period due to its heavy reliance on the competitive US hair care market.
Source: Euromonitor International
The geographic diversification of its iconic colour cosmetics brands will have to remain a strategic priority for Coty. In 2014, it purchased Chanel’s Bourjois masstige brand; the addition of Max Factor and Cover Girl to its portfolio will allow Coty to offer a range of price tiers to target new markets. The Middle East and Africa is a highly attractive region in terms of colour cosmetics expansion, with over a 5% CAGR expected up to 2019.
Max Factor is the second largest colour cosmetics brand in the Middle East and Africa with a 4% value share in 2014. The addition of this brand, alongside Bourjois, Coty’s other newly integrated brand, and Rimmel, will see Coty become the second largest colour cosmetics marketer in the region, which will place it an advantageous position to utilise operational and distribution synergies and benefit from the region’s positive value growth.
Coty has historically relied on celebrities and fashion houses to market much of its offering, in particular fragrances. The company needs to maintain a comparatively high turnover of faces in order for this part of its business to remain relevant. Chanel No 5, for example, has remained a cornerstone of fragrance brands since its launch in 1921, but it is unlikely that celebrities’ signature perfumes will remain relevant for the same length of time. The integration of Procter & Gamble’s prestige brands should target a new consumer base seeking fragrances with longstanding heritage and product identification.
Latin America remains both dynamic and a large-scale opportunity for fragrances, expanding at a 4% CAGR (2014-2019) and adding US$2.5 billion in new sales during this period. Although premium fragrances is expected to be more dynamic, mass fragrances is expected to add three times as much value growth, at US$1.9 billion over 2014-2019. Coty’s new prestige fragrance brands are well positioned to compete with leading brands like Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren on similarly lower-tier premium price platforms in the region.
The integration of the Wella and Clairol brands will see Coty enter the hair care category as the fifth largest global player. Competition from the top three global players, Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal and Unilever, will remain a key challenge, especially in emerging regions. Unilever dominates Latin America, with one fifth of hair care sales, and Procter & Gamble, with its remaining portfolio, holds over a 20% value share in Asia Pacific.
Wella’s largest regional market is Latin America, generating 38% of the brand’s sales in 2014. The region is expected to be the second largest contributor to global category growth, at US$2.8 billion, over 2014-2019. Meanwhile, some 10% of the brand’s sales originate from the Middle East and Africa, the most dynamic hair care market, up at a 4% CAGR over 2014-2019.
Coty will need to invest in these regions to fully exploit the brand equity Wella holds in hair care. Growth in this category is largely driven by increasing category sophistication, ie consumers using multiple products, such as pre-treatment oils, hair masks, and heat protection products, in their hair care routines. In order to stimulate growth in Coty’s newly formed hair care division, both geographic and product line diversification will be required.
The integration of the brands included in Coty’s bid will add significant scale to the company’s operations in its core categories. However, in order to capitalise on growth, Coty will need to expand the geographic reach of each of these iconic beauty brands under its ownership.