Chloe Sorvino of Forbes describes the beauty and cosmetics industry as “a gold mine” worth $445 billion (R6.4 trillion).
“Forbes estimates there are at least 40 prominent beauty startups founded by women, making the $445 billion in sales – one of the most prevalent industries for women to self-start their way to big-time success,” says Sorvino. “Not only is it a great place to start a business, it’s increasingly a good place to sell a business and make a tidy profit.”
According to the cosmetics sector desk at the department of trade and industry (DTI), the South African cosmetic and personal care industry is “vibrant and dynamic”, comprising an interesting mix of multinational giants, entrepreneurial companies, and small, medium and large local brands.
The total size of the country’s cosmetics and personal care products market stands at an estimated R25.3 billion at retail level – contributing 1% to the gross domestic product.
Identified as the top five trade categories in the local cosmetics sector are fragrances, hair care, skin care, deodorants, bath and shower – accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total market.
The total exports amount to R2.8 billion, while imports stand at R4 billion.
The bulk of cosmetic and personal care product exports, says the department, are dispatched to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) nations, which include Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Angola.
While major players and consumers in the industry are largely women, 24-year-old Gauteng businessperson Zakeer Gani is challenging the stereotypical thinking that the cosmetics and beauty sector is a sole preserve of females.
“No one said a young male can’t dominate the beauty industry,” he says. “I have huge ambitions and goals to move South Africa forward in this industry.
“It is important that young people start becoming more innovative and find gaps in the market, not just in South Africa.”
Gani, who has recently launched a beauty and cosmetics store, says offering clients good customer service is key in this business.
“I think customer satisfaction and service is important to retain clients.”
As the director of his own company, Gani’s dream is “to create the largest independent cosmetics house in the country by next year”.