L’Oréal gets new managing director for East Africa

Mr Bakkari will oversee operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia

French cosmetics company L’Oréal has appointment Yassine Bakkari its new managing director for East Africa, with his predecessor Serge Secre taking on a new role as MD for South Africa.
Mr Bakkari’s appointment comes at a time when the cosmetics behemoth is on ambitious plan to implement its sustainability programme, establishing its vision with a focus on the impact of its products during use phase.

Prior to joining East Africa, Bakkari was the operations director for L’Oréal Middle East where he developed an omnichannel transformation of the group’s four divisions by creating a unified experience across e-commerce, retail and deep trade.

He would move to Morocco as general manager for the consumer division, deploying the division’s strategy in developing brand portfolio and equity that, in a big way, cemented the global giant’s market leadership.

The beauty industry, which comprises skin care, cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, and personal care, took a thorough beating especially in 2020 with overall retail sales in the beauty category declining by 15%, according to McKinsey’s research company.

But the industry has been resilient in the past, and experts are predicting a return to growth in 2022
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Bakkari said that East Africa is a rapidly growing region where digital transformation and consumer experience will be key to success.

“As a global company producing some of the world’s most trusted brands like L’Oréal Paris, Garnier, Mizani, Nice & Lovely, CeraVe, Maybelline NY, Armani, L’Oréal Professionnel Paris and La Roche Posay to name a few, this region is a critical part of L’Oréal’s efforts to create the beauty that moves the world,” he said.

The new L’Oréal chief holds an MBA in Marketing Management from the European University, Business School of Geneva, Switzerland and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering from the University of Burgundy, France, qualifications that will typically see him take the multinational firm to higher heights.
In his capacity as managing director, Yassine will oversee the entire East African cluster including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

“I’m truly excited to collaborate with L’Oréal’s employees and partners to offer immediate value for our consumers all across the region and strengthen our extra-financial performance through our programs L’Oréal For the Future, Beauty for a Better Life or L’Oréal For Youth,” he said.

Future of the beauty industry
The beauty industry, especially beauty services, was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is slowly bouncing back. The postpandemic industry is characterized by five important trends: growth in beauty players offering both products and services, a shift in customer preferences to specialized over generic, growth in advanced procedures, the increased centrality of customer experiences, and shifts in the labor market for beauty service professionals – the industry is a darling of many with experts saying the number of hairstylists and aestheticians is currently on the rise.

A study by McKensey shows that five macro trends will affect the growth of the various beauty services segments over the coming years. First, there is steady growth in the number of beauty players offering both products and services. Merchandise sold at spas and salons will continue to grow faster than the overall services market.

“We estimate that product sales from inside salons will grow from roughly $4 billion today to $6 billion by 2027. This growth is fueled by both service providers and beauty retailers. A number of brands that have traditionally focused solely on services have created complementary product offerings,” McKensey states in the study.

Similarly, retailers will continue to experiment with service offerings that help them establish deeper, trust-based relationships with customers while also providing opportunities for education and cross-selling.

Secondly, service providers are developing and marketing increasingly specialized services with the goal that customers will feel that the menu of offerings is designed “for me”, a move that has led to the continued growth of specialty salons, such as salons targeting men, or those designed for patrons with “textured hair”.

Thirdly, the types of services performed by beauty professionals are also becoming more advanced, particularly in skin-related services such as injectibles and treatments with either machines (for example, lasers) or chemicals (peels and lash lifts).

“This is driven both by a rising bar for efficacy, leading to more advanced offerings, and by a pandemic-related increase in customers’ confidence in their ability to perform simple services for themselves. As a result, service providers must offer treatments with results beyond what customers can achieve at home,” says the study.

Enhancing the customer experience is also becoming paramount to winning in the beauty services space – as it is across the retail sector. Unique and premium service environments are capturing customer loyalty and share of wallet, while no-frills express services will struggle to win back the hearts and minds of customers who are newly aware that they can perform simple hair coloring, facials, and nail services at home.

And finally, the COVID-19 pandemic caused long-lasting disruption to the service provider market. The pipeline of new talent was particularly affected at the height of the pandemic, with professionals with less than three years of experience making up 75% of those who left the industry.

Good news is, three years later, the shift has led to labor shortages, especially in the growing field of aestheticians. This shortage has led to rising labor costs across beauty services and increased competition for talent. And now the question on many peoples’ lips is; what should players do?

The five trends laid out (above) will basically reshape the beauty services industry, and things will start looking up if, and only if, companies will both understand these trends and evolve in response.
Fortunately, the continued blurring of the line between beauty products and services unlocks a number of different opportunities. Recommendations for service providers: Beauty service providers looking to thrive in this evolving market should expand product sales, develop partnerships with brands and retailers, and upskill their employees.

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