Hermès Is Betting On Beauty Expansion

What Happened: Hermès is expanding its beauty offerings. Later this year, the Birkin bag-maker plans to release a new line of eye makeup that includes mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow. This comes after the luxury brand released its first “Rouge” collection of lipsticks in 2020, as well as a range of nail polishes and blushes in 2022.

The Jing Take: Although the fashion house released its first fragrance in the 1950s, Hermès’ recent foray into makeup and cosmetics makes it a relative newcomer when compared to storied brands like Chanel, which has offered lipsticks, foundations and other skincare products for decades if not longer.

This latest push into beauty takes place after Hermès reported strong demand for its products in China over the last quarter of 2022 — despite COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. 

Hermès executive chairman Axel Dumas cited continued growth over the past few months: “[We] continued to see strong desirability in China… We saw things going very strongly in China with double-digit growth …. including in the fourth quarter,” he told Reuters in February. 

Most notably, China sales were strong across all product categories during the 2023 Lunar New Year. Meanwhile globally, the firm reported a rise in sales by 22.9 percent year-over-year to $3.2 billion, according to the same report.

Hermès Blush Asia Exclusive

In April 2021, Hermès released a new range of blushes, including an exclusive shade for the Asian market. Photo: Hermès/Jack Davison

In addition to its beauty expansion, Hermès will also ramp up leather goods production, a segment that grew 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to The Financial Times, the luxury house invested $1.59 billion into its operations and hired for 4,300 new roles in Europe. 

In China, where the beauty and personal care market is projected to reach $98 million in size this year, global brands like Hermès stand to gain a larger market share by entering the beauty sector. “Foreign cosmetics brands should see more resumption than domestic brands, driven by offline recovery,” stated a Bernstein report, according to WWD

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.