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Monday, June 17, 2024

SK-II looks to grow in leaps and bounds in Vietnam

Ngoc Nguyen

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Global prestige skincare brand SK-II has taken its initial step into the Vietnamese market by opening its official store in HCMC. With a substantial local demand for skincare products, this move establishes a solid foundation for SK-II to capitalize on the luxury market in Vietnam.

During her visit to Vietnam in the wake of this development, Sue Kyung Lee, Global CEO of SK-II, discussed the brand’s long-term growth vision in Vietnam and its future plans in an interview with The Saigon Times. Excerpts:

The Saigon Times: As far as we know, SK-II recently opened its first official store at Takashimaya in Saigon Center, HCMC, in early October this year. Why did SK-II decide to enter the Vietnamese market, and how does Vietnam fit into SK-II’s global expansion strategy?

Sue Kyung Lee: Vietnam is an incredibly fascinating market as it boasts the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia. We are seeing lots of opportunities for expansion in Vietnam, especially when Vietnamese consumers have started to appreciate luxury products more and more. The Vietnamese skincare industry is forecasted to continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

SK-II enjoys very high latent awareness in Vietnam. Even before SK-II entered the Vietnamese market, consumers were acquainted with the brand during their trips abroad. Many consumers became SK-II users and sought ways to purchase its products through various channels, including e-commerce platforms. Given the strong organic consumer demand for SK-II in Vietnam, we wanted to enter this market without delay to serve consumers in Vietnam.

SK-II’s overall vision is to inspire everyone to explore premium skincare solutions from SK-II with the PITERA™ and embark on their journey towards Crystal Clean Skin. With our entry into Vietnam, we aim to share this vision with Vietnamese consumers.

Can you share SK-II’s growth strategies and plans for expanding its market presence in the Vietnamese skincare market?

We believe strongly in meaningful innovation powered by PITERA™, deep consumer insights and high-quality craftsmanship. As a pioneering leader in skincare expertise, craftsmanship and science, we have carried out many groundbreaking scientific studies and discoveries on skin and the skin transformative powers of PITERA™ with our consumers to help them better understand their skin and solve their biggest skin concerns. SK-II’s priority is to consistently serve our consumers better than anyone else by constantly raising the bar in everything we do as a brand. We are also committed to serving consumers with irresistibly superior product innovations and brand experiences across all omnichannel touchpoints with PITERA™ at the heart of it all.

With our official entry to Vietnam, my vision for SK-II in Vietnam for the next five years is to inspire every Vietnamese woman to experience the transformational powers of SK-II with PITERA™ and embark on her journey towards Crystal Clear Skin, making SK-II the top 3 prestige skincare brand in all the markets we play in.

We also plan to also expand into other top cities in Vietnam, and Hanoi is our focus for the second SK-II store.

What are SK-II’s objectives for its presence in Vietnam in the next five years?

On a macro level, our key objective is to create and foster brand love among Vietnamese consumers through our official presence in Vietnam by addressing their biggest skincare needs and concerns as a Skincare Expert powered by PITERA™.

On-ground, we look to establish our footprint throughout the top cities in Vietnam with a growing presence in luxury department stores, the development of standalone stores, and official e-commerce stores to be present across omnichannel touchpoints for Vietnamese consumers.

In your perspective, what key challenges does SK-II encounter in the Vietnamese market, both now and in the future?

Many gray sellers in the Vietnamese market have established a strong base for selling SK-II products to local consumers. While this has significantly raised SK-II’s brand awareness in Vietnam, it can present a challenge for us: How can we effectively guide these loyal SK-II users towards buying legitimate, authorized channels for purchasing SK-II products? We foresee this will be our main challenge at present and in the future.

How is SK-II adapting its products and strategies to align with changing consumer preferences and beauty trends in Vietnam? What sets SK-II apart from other brands?

What makes SK-II unique within the high-end beauty landscape is PITERA™. It is a naturally derived skincare ingredient created through an exclusive yeast fermentation process. For over 40 years, PITERA™ has remained at the heart of our brand, serving as the foundation of our superiority and efficacy. It is a key component in every SK-II product and is the key to millions of skin transformations to Crystal Clear Skin around the world.

When it comes to our products and strategies, we believe in meaningful innovation powered by PITERA™ and science. Our focus is on addressing our consumers’ skincare needs and crafting our products with the highest quality to ensure lasting value, rather than simply following passing trends that come and go.

In Vietnam, we understand that consumers value authentic product reviews and testimonials from key opinion leaders. They also appreciate user-generated content when deciding which products to purchase. This aligns perfectly with SK-II’s core value of authenticity. We look to work with and inspire key opinion leaders and consumers in Vietnam to share their personal stories of how PITERA™ has transformed their skin and shaped their life.

SK-II’s first official store in Vietnam is located at Takashimaya, Saigon Centre, HCMC

Could you share SK-II’s approach to scientific research and development, highlighting the brand’s commitment to product excellence and how it keeps pace with scientific advancements for product innovation?

We consistently listen to consumers and engage with them on their social channels. Beyond perceiving a consumer as someone who simply purchases skincare, we have to recognize her for the human being she is – someone who has dealt with life’s challenges and is going through her journey. From there, we strive to connect with them on a deeper level that goes beyond skincare. We call this “consumer obsession,” and it involves actively listening to consumers to understand their lifestyles and address their most important skin care needs.

As a pioneering leader in skincare expertise, we have carried out many scientific studies and discoveries on skin and the skin transformative powers of PITERA™. Additionally, we have maintained ongoing collaborations with leading scientists and dermatologists worldwide to conduct extensive research studies on skin and PITERA™. These studies serve as the foundation for our product development and innovation.

In what ways does SK-II leverage its influence to advocate for female empowerment, equality, and inclusion in the beauty industry?

Going back to SK-II’s purpose of Choose Destiny, the idea of taking destiny into your own hands can be daunting. We recognize that empowerment requires courage. Defying pressure to live up to expectations from society, and sometimes just staying true to ourselves, is easier said than done. But we all have it in us.

We have heard incredible stories from countless women about how they have chosen their destiny and transformed their skin and lives, and we have told their stories through many campaigns over the years. Earlier this year, we debuted a series of short films with our brand ambassadors called THE SECRET KEY, where they revealed the untold stories of their skin and life transformation. For example, Mina from the global girl group TWICE shared about a decision she made early in life that impacted her career and helped her become the person she is today.

Through these stories that we share, we hope to inspire other young women to step forward with courage. We have a role to play in giving women the courage to choose their destiny and use our voice as a force for good, and we look forward to bringing fresh and inspiring stories of transformation to Vietnamese women.

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