The CEO & Executive Director of Baccarose Perfumes and Beauty Products Pvt Ltd, Biju Antony spoke to BW Business World on the sidelines of the Parcos Beauty Influencer Awards. He talks about the future of Beauty industry in India, role of Social Media Influencers in the space and roadmap to foster the consumer spends in the cosmetics and beauty industry in India.
Biju Antony, firstly congratulations on launching Parcos beauty influencer awards. What was the rationale behind launching an influencer award in this category?
At Baccarose and Parcos we pride ourselves with having built the beauty luxury industry in this country. We work a lot with influencers and we find that influencers today determine how consumers look , buy and consume beauty products . We believed that we needed to return to the community who we work very closely with and we look forward to working closely in the future in helping build per capita consumption for beauty in India which is one of the lowest in the world.
In the social media space, everyone claims to be an influencer. How tough are your criteria and how do you segregate serious influencers from the noise?
Our entire process of application screening and jury process involves going in depth and understanding the kind of followership an influencer commands, which category of beauty they cater to, their specialization and then the nomination process which is audited by E&Y. So, it’s a very transparent process. While the awards are run by professionals at Parcos we stay out of it because we don’t want to influence the awards in any way. This is built for the influencer community decided by the jury also open to public voting and therefore a completely transparent process.
You have been in the beauty retail business for almost two decades in this country. The industry is growing at a very fast rate if I consider the CAGR. What are the changes you have observed in the space in the past and what are you expecting in the short-term future?
Many years ago, there was only brick and mortar and we had built our business out through brick & mortar formats. With the advent of digital space and e-commerce platforms we have had parcos stores at all the major beauty digital platforms across the country. So, you will find a parcos store on Amazon, flipkart, Nykaa, Myntra and all other leading platforms. With the advent of Covid we have seen Indian consumers are more comfortable with buying beauty products online and e-commerce which they weren’t a few years ago. However, we still have the brick-and-mortar formats for those who wish to try , who like the touch and feel and like to experience beauty and luxury. I think digital is the way to go but brick and mortar is not going anywhere. Also, the growth of e-commerce in the last few years is also something which triggered us to convert our existing parcos stores into an omni channel format and we launched parcos .com two months ago. We are slowly building on it. It’s a journey. We want to increase the assortment of brands on the platform, all luxury and beauty brands in the market and not just from our portfolio of brands
Beauty has always been predominantly a female dominated market. How strongly you feel the gender balance being played out on the future?
While certain categories like skin and colour have been predominantly women, the fragrance market in India has largely been predominantly male. Of course, the fact remains that there are some women who buy men’s fragrances as well and globally a lot of fragrance is going the unisex way so there is no real differentiation between men and women. I think men’s grooming, men’s skin care and men’s fragrance are also growing at a very fast pace. There are a lot of brands that are coming up with incredible formulations, great packaging, etc . And that is because the Indian male consumer is also getting more aware and serious about grooming. It’s a lifestyle choice and we certainly see that category growing as well.