US chemical producer Dow Chemical Co is upbeat about the cosmetics and personal care business in Thailand, saying the local market has shown massive consumer demand.
A consumer tests cosmetics that use Dow chemicals.
Dow's local facilities do not produce related chemicals and key ingredients for this segment. Imports from other operations supply Thai and multinational manufacturers.
The cosmetics and personal care business is part of Dow Consumer Solutions, which is under the Michigan-based performance materials and coatings division.
Curtis Creed, commercial director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at Dow Consumer Solutions, said the overall beauty and personal care market in Thailand has increased in line with GDP growth.
Euromonitor International, a global market research firm, has noted a strong trend in health consciousness among Thai consumers.
"Euromonitor reported that the local market size for beauty and personal care grew by 6.8% to 198 billion baht in 2017, driven by an ageing population, social media trends and consumer behaviour," Mr Creed said. "The local market is predicted to reach 300 billion baht by 2022, led by a parade of various cosmetics and personal care products."
He said beauty retail in Thailand has shifted from counter brands to multi-brand beauty stores and online platforms that consumers can use to look for products touted by social media influencers and beauty bloggers.
Through this market evolution, more than 100,000 products are offered by beauty stores and online channels in Thailand.
"Dow is also very keen on expanding the cosmetics and personal care business to consumers, mainly through the digital platform," Mr Creed said. "Furthermore, the ageing population is widespread in Southeast Asian countries."
He said Thailand and Indonesia are opportunity markets in the region, with their large populations and high purchasing power.
The economy has shown improvement, driven by the tourism and export sectors, with momentum on the local consumer side spurred by multi-brand stores that offer many product segments, Mr Creed said.
Creed: Market rising with GDP growth
Dow Consumer Solutions has 125 years of experience in key ingredients such as elastomer blends, emulsifiers, surfactants and rheology modifiers for many cosmetics and personal care products, including emulsions, suspensions, fluids, blends, powders, resins, acrylates and waxes.
These key ingredients have been made at Dow's facilities in China, Japan, North America and South Korea.
"The future market will be driven by multi-function products with many benefits such as anti-ageing, thickening, sensory enhancements, long wear and UV protection," Mr Creed said. "The developed products should respond to consumers' need to feel good, look good and live well."
Dow Chemical's Thailand manufacturing base is the largest in Asia-Pacific, consisting of 16 companies under two main organisational structures that are operated solely by Dow, as well as joint ventures.
The parent firm entered the country to establish the first sales office in Bangkok in 1967, followed by a polystyrene plant in Phra Pradaeng district of Samut Prakan.
In 2017, Dow Chemical Thailand posted revenue of 118 billion baht, an increase of 6%, and chemical output stood at 2.13 million tonnes, up 0.16%.
Some 49% of the products are sold in Thailand, with the rest exported to Asia-Pacific.