On the ground commitment: Gary Leong inside the Hainan Tourism International Duty Free Shopping Complex in the run-up to its opening late last year

Swedish beauty tech and wellness brand Foreo is continuing to build its presence in Hainan’s booming offshore duty free sector, benefiting from a sustained, long-term commitment to the channel.

While Hainan grew into a US$5 billion sales channel last year, it is worth noting that the offshore business is just ten years old, China Duty Free Group having launched a single store in downtown Sanya in 2011.

Foreo spotted the opportunity early and Global Travel Retail Director Gary Leong has spent much time on the ground in recent times overseeing the various new counter build-ups in what is now one of the world’s top shopping destinations.

“We could see the potential in Hainan from the start,” said Leong. “It helps that the travel retail team is headquartered in Shanghai, making it easier for us to spot trends and keep our ears to the ground when it comes to industry news.

“We decided to take a chance on Hainan, and it paid off amazingly well. We are thrilled to be one of the first international brands to realise the island’s full potential, and have many other exciting openings coming up within the rest of 2021.”

As noted in The Moodie Davitt Report’s special Hainan study published earlier this year (see foot of page), Hainan island has combined its allure as a natural paradise – palm trees, sandy beaches, sub-tropical climate and pristine environment – with the attraction of a modern-day shopping paradise. The latter status was reinforced by the enhanced offshore duty free shopping policy introduced last July.

In the past decade, Sanya, a resort-driven destination to the south of the island, has been transformed from a sleepy town into a bustling international retail haven, Foreo noted.

Again the backdrop of an ongoing global pandemic, Hainan has continued to show remarkable growth. Sales leapt +127% last year and are expected to hit RMB60 billion (US$9.3 billion) in 2021, a spike of over +80% year-on-year. By 2022, the figure is expected to climb to at least US$15.5 billion.

Foreo cites many successful projects in Hainan, including its presence at the Hainan Tourism International Duty Free Shopping Complex (Hainan Tourism Investment Duty Free Co) in Sanya, which was officially inaugurated in December 2020. Just shy of Chinese New Year 2021, Foreo launched a counter (pictued below), replete with full gondola and back wall.

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Foreo’s focus in Hainan leads on its skincare devices, including LUNA 3 and the popular UFO 2. The upgraded version of the UFO features Cyro-Therapy and Thermo-Therapy to assist the ingredients within the masks to penetrate deeper into the skin. Alongside that are 8 LED lights, each designed to target specific skin issues such as breakouts, dull skin, and skin puffiness.

The LUNA 3, the newest upgrade to the cult cleansing brush that started the Foreo phenomenon, is also key to the brand’s efforts in Hainan. It features massage functions integrated into the Foreo app, which users are able to deploy depending on their choice of massage.

Foreo said that it is “just getting started” in terms of the “brimming potential” of Hainan. “With many new counter launches slated for the rest of 2021, we say that the sky’s the limit this year and are ready to prove it,” the company concluded.

Footnote: Every fortnight The Moodie Davitt Report publishes Hainan Curated, in association with Foreo, a selection of all recent stories from the offshore duty free sector in Hainan province.

Click here to view all back issues. Please email Sinead@MoodieDavittReport.com to subscribe.

Click to open our recent special edition of The Moodie Davitt Magazine dedicated to Hainan.