Influencers Are Winning the Beauty Contest Across Southeast Asia

Influencers Are Winning the Beauty Contest Across Southeast Asia

A New Study from Meltwater Explores How Social Media and Influencers Are Redefining the Way Beauty Shoppers in the Region Discover, Evaluate and Purchase Makeup

Move over celebrities; shoppers are increasingly turning to influencers to access beauty trends, looks, content and experiences, as the beauty industry fully embraces the power of influencer marketing.

A new report from Meltwater titled ‘Beyond Skin Deep: Understanding the shopping journey of the Southeast Asian beauty buyer’, explores how the industry has welcomed the impact of influencer marketing, and why these relatable and authentic personalities are the top choice for beauty brand endorsements and commercial collaborations.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Social media influencers are now preferred over celebrities for beauty collaborations, given their higher engagement, ROI and credibility among niche audiences.
  • Instagram is the channel of choice for talent-led collaborations, with 8x more beauty influencers on Instagram than on other social channels such as Twitter and YouTube.
  • In Southeast Asia, lip products were the most talked about products on social media, with Estée Lauder’s range of brands dominating the overall conversation.
  • Indonesia accounted for 38% of social media chatter around beauty, leaving behind Malaysia and the Philippines who reported 29% and 27% respectively.
  • J-beauty (i.e. beauty brands from Japan) took the lead in terms of share-of-voice, as compared to Korean and Chinese beauty brands.
  • Selection of the region’s top beauty influencers are: Singapore’s Sahur Saleim (@sahursart), Malaysia’s Farhanah Firdaus (@faafirds), the Philippines’ Anna Cay (@annacay), and Indonesia’s Marcella Febrianne Hadikusomo (@cindercella).

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Supporting Meltwater’s findings is a separate report by Celebrity Intelligence, which found that influencers are pivotal in shaping opinions and buying decisions for 80% of beauty shoppers.

The report also identified key strategies that beauty brands in the region can adopt to fully leverage how customers are consuming beauty-related content. This includes:

  • Creating an immersive experience on digital channels to help overcome existing barriers towards online sales.
  • Focusing on personalised experiences to cater to customer demands of greater inclusivity.
  • Leveraging data to identify the right influencers and evaluate their relevance to a brand’s target audience.
  • Adopting sophisticated social listening and AI tools to stay on top of what customers want, and trends that brands can leverage on.

Meltwater’s report tracked and analysed social media mentions of the top beauty and cosmetics companies across millions of posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, review sites and online forums. Meltwater’s Social Influencer Discovery tool was also used to identify the top influencers and content in each country.

“Consumers today know when they are being sold to and would much rather hear from real people. As such, brands need to be more strategic in their talent collaborations, looking not only at vanity metrics like follower numbers, but also incorporating deeper insights such as average engagement per post, true reach, and demographic data to determine whether an influencer appeals to the right audience,” said Mimrah Mahmood, Regional Director, Media Solutions, Meltwater Asia Pacific.

“As the market matures, influencer marketing budgets and future collaborations will only grow bigger, pushing the $500 billion beauty industry to become even more creative, transparent and accessible.”

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The report also discussed the importance of strategic brand partnerships with credible social media personalities, whose content is relevant to the target audience.

“An integrated influencer marketing strategy is non-negotiable when it comes to garnering consumers’ attention in a cluttered and noisy digital space. By carefully selecting and collaborating with influencers, in addition to continuing our traditional marketing efforts, our brand can be culturally relevant to consumers,” said Bea Asavajaru, Global Senior Manager (Social Media and Influencer Marketing), Clé de Peau Beauté, a Shiseido brand.

“Establishing authentic connections with our audience is of great importance. Since we have curated and worked with influencers who command considerable influence over a sizeable population, we have seen a direct increase in brand awareness and share-of-voice among our competitors.”

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