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Yes, it’s been well over a decade since Shakira’s release of Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) at the FIFA World Cup, but you can’t help love it when it rolls into your playlist. Maybe, because we are still inspired to shake our hips like her, or maybe because we do believe it’s time for Africa.

This massive continent has been bobbing a bit under the surface in the beauty and cosmetic industry, but over the last several years there have been numerous positive indicators to point us towards the African market.

Here are some of the trends that have us feeling it’s time for Africa.

1. More beauty markets are emerging

South Africa has been one of the only markets when brands and multinationals look to Africa. But the rise of Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Cameroon mean that the Sub-Saharan region and East Africa offer rich opportunities. The overall growth for cosmetics is expected to reach over $14.6 billion by 2022. With growing beauty segments in these markets, creating products for the market or altering existing packaging and formulas and spreading your risk our among many nations is possible.

2. Reform and Investment

Since 2019, African governments have been tightening cosmetic regulations, reviewing ingredients, and banning products that could cause harm to their citizens. With clear regulations defined and in many cases, across regions (like the East African Community), foreign brands can understand and implement them. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement wiped out tariffs between African member nations making the movement for cosmetics easier and less expensive. There has also been strong investments by large corporations like Unilever, L’Oreal, and Proctor & Gamble paving the way for other companies to come in.

3. Digital Infrastructure

There have been significant advancements helping to get Africans into the digital era. The release of less expensive computers, cell phones, services and wide-reaching internet means more people than ever can get online. The rise of online brand awareness, influencers, and connection is great momentum for beauty brands. Choosing to use a global campaign or find local influencers is now possible and affordable for big and small brands alike. The investment into payment infrastructure has put online shopping at the fingertips of the digitally savvy consumer.

4. Rising middle class and purchasing power

Over the last decade the larger younger population and rising purchasing power has been a large contributor to the growing beauty segment. Consumers (especially women) have had access to higher education, careers, and more disposable income, allowing them to spend on fashion and beauty trends. The modern-day African beauty purchaser is splitting between local and international brands.

5. Demand for international brands

Worldwide access to global trends, influencers, and brand awareness creates demand for international brands among African consumers. They are willing to pay a higher price for international products, but also purchase local brands due to assortment, needs, and price. One way to capitalize on the African opportunity would be to have products specific to the unique consumer needs at a value price.

Looking to expand into an African country? Look for a local expert in the specific country you want to enter to help navigate. It may be worth checking out the African Cosmetics Directory which is updated every 6 months with importers, distribution, and retail sales in the beauty and cosmetic space. Either way, doing the research and due diligence will guide you to selecting the right opportunity for your beauty brand.

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