Conquering A Billion New Consumers: L’Oréal Unveils Its Research & Innovation Strategy

During a press conference held at the Group’s headquarters, Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President Research & Innovation, presented new development axes for L’Oréal Research. While the global cosmetics market undergoes significant changes - with emerging markets already accounting for 53% of the market - L’Oréal aims to conquer one billion new consumers.

Conquering new consumers

Tomorrow’s beauty will be global and universal and will respect the unique nature of each region. L’Oréal Research’s mission will hence be to understand and adapt to all women and men in order to offer the best of cosmetics in terms of quality, efficacy and safety.

The ability to innovate for new markets must therefore rely on in-depth knowledge of the culture, needs and preferences of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian consumers. By placing the consumer at the heart of Research & Innovation, L’Oréal has decided to create the “Consumer Insights” International division as well as regional R&I hubs (in Asia for example).

Innovation must take place where consumers are based. The concept of “design to value” looks at consumer habits in a given location to develop an innovation.
Kohl for example, an emblematic product in India, originally used for eyes, illustrates this phenomenon. It is being used as a source of inspiration for the development of products that will meet not only the beauty expectations of Indian women, but also those of consumers from other regions. This example shows how innovation stems from an association of market intelligence (observing beauty rituals, emblematic products, cultural habits) and in-depth knowledge of skin and hair’s biology and physiology.

Enriching our innovation capabilities

L’Oréal group’s commitment to innovation has always been to launch formulas that enhance the consumer’s product experience. To fulfil this commitment and benefit consumers from emerging markets by determining strategic choices, “be both driven by consumers and invest in technology that will generate even greater innovation”, said Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President Research & Innovation.

The genomics boom, progress in stem cells, biphonotics and reconstructed skin … numerous technological and scientific advances have allowed the Group to further its knowledge, identify new cellular targets and better decode skin (and hair’s) ageing mechanisms in order to predict even earlier and more effectively.

Anti-perspirants and oily skin products are strategic for emerging markets. In most of these countries, sweat and oily skin are seen as one and the same, and are intimately linked to climate, diet and physiology.

Perceived efficacy and predictive evaluation

Tomorrow’s beauty will also be active, and innovation will be increasingly based on the efficacy perceived by the consumer and demonstrated by scientific and clinical proof.

The notion and perception of performance is in continuous progression. For example, the quality of a shampoo or shower gel’s lather is not appreciated in the same way by all cultures. In order to respond to these diverse expectations, instrumental evaluation methods that assess clinical efficacy are combined with objective evaluation of the product’s emotional and sensorial performance (brain imaging, “eye tracking” or sensorial mapping…).

Earlier and more efficient predictions are key and should be built on the knowledge of cultural contexts, beauty rituals, diet and climate… and the in-depth knowledge of skin’s structure and understanding of its mechanisms.


Worldwide presence Investisments Patents
18 Research centres
13 Evaluation centres
2009 : 609 million Euros
2008 : 588 million Euros
2007 : 571 million Euros
2009 : 674
2008 : 628
2007 : 576

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