I did not really know what to expect from Cosmoprof Asia. I was invited there as a speaker to talk about two out of many beauty market segments that Kline analyzes: natural personal care and professional nail care. During my two-day visit to the show, I came to realize that it differed in many ways from other shows I’ve attended.
1. It’s not just big – it’s enormous!
After walking out of Hong Kong’s Wan Chai metro system station, I easily found my way to the show—all I had to do was follow the crowd! Upon entering the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, one cannot initially grasp the size of the place. The first time I realized the center’s massive size was when I needed to find my colleague Pierre and agreeing to meet up at the entrance of one of the many exhibition halls wouldn’t work since there were several entrances. I also happened to get lost in the building twice due to the extensive web of escalators and confusing lifts. Luckily, the staff is very helpful and omnipresent. If you do end up lost, you can always stop and enjoy the great view of Victoria Harbour, which was cloudy most of the time, but still impressive.
2. Reflection on booth sizes
At most shows, one can easily tell who “the big guys” are by simply looking at the size of the booth. Here, that task would be more difficult. As we strolled down endless aisles of the show, I couldn’t help feel that all the booths were of similar sizes. One of the biggest booths in the show belonged to marketers of professional devices, but all of them had more space in order to fit their large equipment that they were showcasing. Reviewing the after-show statistics, one can tell why most of the booths needed to have a limited size, as there were over 2,500 exhibitors and more than 63,000 visitors. Of course, there were exceptions, with the Keystone Industries booth definitely standing out in the professional nail area.
3. Not very animated
I found the show much less animated than some of the beauty shows I’ve visited in Europe, which could be linked to the limited booth sizes, but also the fact that Asian companies don’t animate their booths in a similar fashion. Of course, some nail brands had nail technicians and device marketers offered the chance test out products, but apart from that, the show wasn’t as overwhelming as many others. The only booth with loud music and dancing models we found belonged to Fashion TV Cosmetics.
4. Masks, masks, and more masks!
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen as many facial masks in my entire life as I did during Cosmoprof Asia! All types were present—whitening, firming, hydrating, and anti-aging, among others. Even masks with gold and 4D face shape memory masks! A simple stroll through the show revealed that Asian consumers are extremely fond of this form of treatment.
5. Show not focused on on-the-spot sales
Many trade shows related to beauty in Europe ultimately become a big shopping venue, with marketers focusing on selling products and offering pricing promotions to boost sales during the show. To my surprise, at Cosmoprof Asia, many booths had “not for sale” tags around their product exhibitions. It was a pleasant surprise, allowing the show to concentrate on longer-term business aspects, such as finding distributors, networking, and creating brand awareness opposed to short-term goals, like selling the largest quantity of products during the show.
6. Hair salon exhibition – focus on equipment and accessories
In terms of exhibitors, the show has not attracted the most important international players when it comes to professional hair care products. Most of the booths in the salon hair care-dedicated area were makers of equipment and accessories for hair salons. That said, some of the brands present were included as upcoming brands in Europe in our Salon Hair Care Global Series 2014 report. It looks like the expansion plans of brands like the American Amika or Italian Z-One Concept go beyond Europe, venturing into Asian markets.
7. Business cards paradise
Even if you brought a thick pile of business cards with you, chances are it did not last through the whole show. That’s not something I have been used to while visiting shows in Europe, where getting a business card from someone is almost a privilege. At Cosmoprof Asia, cards of top level management were sitting on booth counters, ready to be served. As a visitor, you were expected to also leave your own business card. The next time I visit a trade show in Asia, I’ll have to bring more business cards with me!
8. Speakers get a warm welcome
Often times while giving presentations, one comes in among other speakers, with the only interaction between staff and show organizers being through technical people fixing the microphone and helping to set up the presentation. This time it was very different. The first presentation I was giving on professional nail care started off not only with a brief introduction, but also an official welcome from the organizers of Cosmoprof Asia with an elegantly framed “thank you” note. This was a great gesture and excellent start to my presentation!
9. Innovation hidden in local brands’ booths
With many booths looking the same and product information not screaming at you from every corner of the show, one has to actually look closely to find the real gems. While strolling through the professional nail area, which featured all types of OEM manufacturers mixed with the leading brands in the region, such as Shellac and Bandi, I found two novelties that I would definitely like to feature in our upcoming Professional Nail Care: Global Market Brief 2015 edition. In terms of gel-polish innovation, I was most impressed by O’Nine. When it comes to innovation in the professional nail care arena, it often comes down to gel removal and reducing the negative effects of soaking the nail in acetone. I was surprised that this company found a way to make a product that is actually removed by alcohol. Another novelty spotted were nail stickers from Glossy Blossom, which look like gel nails and actually contain gel. Their advantage is the convenience of putting them on and removing them (without damaging the nail), but the downside is a shorter wear time than for regular gel nails.
We were really excited about this year’s Cosmoprof Asia show, which announced having registered a record number of visitors and exhibitors. We’re also eager to publish the next editions of our professional beauty and personal care market research reports, covering the industry’s most coveted trends.
Written by Agnieszka Saintemarie, Project Manager, Consumer Products Practice