Swisse takes natural approach to relaunch of skincare line

While Australian wellness brand Swisse is most strongly associated with vitamins and supplements, the brand has revamped its skincare offering to highlight the importance of promoting beauty from the inside, out.

The Healthy Beautiful range from Swisse Beauty features a series of new products, reformulations and refreshed packaging divided into six pillars that specifically target a variety of skin issues.

The brand collaborated with Australian medical cannabis, CBD and hemp brand, Bod Australia Ltd to launch nine hemp-based products for the range, to capitalise on the plant’s restorative properties.

Swisse managing director Nick Mann spoke to Inside FMCG about the approach to the relaunch of Swisse Beauty and why natural ingredients are a key focus for the brand.

Inside FMCG: Tell us about the thinking behind the relaunch of this range and the choice of ingredients.

Nick Mann: We’ve worked on the range for quite a long time; from conception to relaunch it was nearly two years. During that time, we’ve seen our own Manuka products have sold really well, it’s obviously a really on-trend ingredient around the world, so to extend into Manuka more formally was pretty obvious.

Hemp is really interesting and is in massive growth around the world, both in skincare and ingestible hemp, [due to the presence of] Omega−3 and Omega−6 fatty acids, but also because there’s a lot of evidence around strengthening skin. So hemp was a really natural progression for us in terms of beauty inside and out.

Hyaluronic is a trending ingredient, it has been for a couple of years now. So an extension into hyaluronic made a lot of sense. Argan, we’ve been working with for some time. Our Argan eye cream has been a really successful product for a couple of years; it’s been in our top two or three consistently.

It’s really about picking up on trends for natural, which we’ve always been synonymous with, but also some of the trending ingredients as well.

Inside FMCG: Are you noticing increased demand for natural and vegan products in skincare?

NM: Absolutely, there’s a huge trend towards natural. People are just so very conscious about what they’re putting into their body and onto their skin now. The growth of natural products is phenomenal, frankly. We just can’t afford to be putting unnatural ingredients into our products anymore.

Inside FMCG: Tell us about the decision to categorise the range into six pillars?

NM: We worked really hard with a number of our retail partners on how consumers shop for skincare, and so a lot of work went into trying to categorise it into these six areas.

Glow is to support radiant skin; Nourish is for vitality; Bright for vibrancy; Balance for troublesome skin; Renew is obviously for skin that’s feeling a bit tired, and then Restore is for dehydrated skin and that’s our hemp range.

We spent a lot of time on the segmentation and I think it’s arguably the most important part, to make it easy to shop and to segment based on consumers different needs.

Inside FMCG: Where will the range be available? Will it be sold in export markets?

NM: It will appear in pharmacies, online and grocery, and in export markets as well on Taobao and WeChat.

Our Argan eye cream, Manuka mask and Miscellar water are already really popular products on those sites.

Inside FMCG: Do trends differ much in export markets to the trends in Australia?
NM: Not really, the main trend is that there seems to be a more balanced spread across domestic consumers about the range. We don’t have any products that are just absolute outliers, as we see on some of the export sites.

About a month ago, we launched a vitamin product called Collagen Glow with peptides, and it sold widely across most markets in Australia. We expected that product to be to be a good product for export, but it’s been split 50/50 – domestic and export consumers. It will scan over $2 million in its first 12 months which is really very uncommon for a new product in vitamins. We can really see that demand from domestic and export consumers now for a product like that, so it gives us more confidence that the range is going to do really well.

Inside FMCG: How do you expect the COVID-19 outbreak to impact sales?

NM: What’s happening is really interesting; we’re seeing some sub segments go really really well and some sub segments go not quite as quickly. But skincare, interestingly, has maintained pretty solid sales. Whether you’re inside or outside, seeing people or not, people still care about their skincare ritual.

In export, there’s still been strong demand from China. Our China sales are really strong. The daigou has been impacted, but a lot of the larger bulk export customers are doing really well. So overall we’re in a really good place. We don’t expect the launch of this range to be negatively impacted much by what’s going on. Possibly the uptake around it might be slightly flatter, but not significantly.

We still plan to have the same amount of advertising pressure by the end of the year, irrespective of what’s going on, which we think is a great thing. We want to keep investing, in a sensible way, because our sales are still holding up quite nicely. We believe it’s still a good time to support local businesses and keep investing, as we had always intended.

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