Nick Mann, CEO of Swisse Wellness.

Major events frequently fast-track well-established trends. The COVID-19 crisis escalated demand for vitamins and supplements and naturally-based skincare as consumers hunkered down at home and focused on becoming more healthy – inside and out. But at the beginning of the year, the Global Consumer Trends 2030 report from international researcher Mintel tapped wellness as one of the major categories that will shape the health and beauty categories over the next 10 years. Self-care and well-being have a long history in many cultures and the term wellness has become as ubiquitous as ‘green’ in the personal care sector. Consumers are looking for nutritional, topical and aromatherapy remedies through skincare and beauty-from-within supplements such as collagen. Euromonitor International rubber-stamped Mintel’s prediction and rated wellness as one of its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends of 2020.


Few companies are better placed than Swisse Wellness to meet the soaring demand for vitamins, nutraceuticals and natural skincare incorporating proven active ingredients and functional benefits that address specific needs. Nick Mann joined the global wellness company in 2017 as sales director ANZ, after a 20 year career in sales and marketing with leading multinationals such as Treasury Wine Estates, Motorola and Gillette. He was appointed managing director ANZ in September last year. In the first quarter of the year, Swisse re-charged its skincare business with the launch of the Healthy Beautiful range, a lineup of new products, formulas and revamped packaging organised into six pillars. The company entered the skincare space in 2012 and has regularly promoted its  offerings with campaigns such as Discover Real Beauty Inside and Out in 2017, fronted by brand ambassador Ashley Hart, the wellknown Australian model and practicing yogi. Although we have had a skincare range for some time, we are making it a core focus of the business, says Mann. “We plan to invest in marketing as skincare is very symbiotic to our vitamin and supplement products. There’s a big market for beauty-from-within products in Australia and overseas. Our hero products such as Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails+  and  Grape Seed have long been favourites with health-conscious consumers, who believe it’s just as important to know what they are putting into their bodies as what they are putting on their skin.”


Mann is very enthusiastic about the potential of CBD (cannabidiol) and hemp. Derived from the cannabis sativa plant, CBD is having a huge impact on personal care and health, particularly in the US where top-line sales CBD products reached US$4.2 billion last year. The huge surge in CBD and hemp skincare products has also been phenomenal, climbing from US$17 million in 2018 to US$311 million in 2019. With anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties, in addition to a high omega 3 and 6 content, CBD is a natural hero ingredient for skincare. Nine hemp-based products are included in the Healthy Beautiful range’s Restore pillar, including Hempseed Facial Oil, Replenishing Cream Moisturiser and Hydrating Body Moisturiser. Created in collaboration with Bod Australia, the medicinal cannabis company, the products were launched in February through 2000 stores nationwide including Coles, Priceline and Chemist Warehouse. “A first for Swisse, the rollout was a strategic move for the brand, as we focus on offering innovative wellness solutions that respond to consumer shifts and growing demand,” says Mann. Hemp is very exciting because it’s not just a great business opportunity, but speaks to our brand beliefs and aligns with our sustainability strategy and commitments, adds Mann. “The adoption of our hempseed range from our retailers has been overwhelming.”


Tailored products are a major trend in skincare and Swisse has taken this targeted approach with the other five categories of its new skincare offering. The Glow products support more radiant skin. The Balance SKUs are formulated for problem-prone skin and the Renew products revitalise skin in need of a boost. The Nourish and Bright pillars promote vitality and increased vibrancy, respectively. “From conception to launch, we worked on the range for two years,” says Mann. “They also dovetail with our best-selling manuka and argan products.” Swisse is internationally recognised for its high quality, nutrient-rich ranges, backed by science and world-class manufacturing standards. Consumers today have a self-care attitude focused on prevention and maintenance, says Mann. “We have had major success in China on the back of our collagen products. Our Collagen Glow with Peptides, launched earlier this year, has done well in China and Australia.” Swisse re-entered the US market (online only) in 2017, following a three-year hiatus as the company focused on expansion in Europe and Asia. In May, Clinical Collagen + Beauty Blend was launched, the second innovation developed specifically for the US market. Formulated with grass-fed bovine collagen, Verisol bioactive collagen peptides and hyaluronic acid, the supplement was clinically tested to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Sustainability is right at the top of the consumer agenda today. Beauty shoppers want to reduce their carbon and plastic footprints and they are thinking more about supply chains, ingredients and packaging, says Mann. “They want to reduce excess packaging and demand major commitments from brands. Our core market is young women aged 20 to 35. We call them Wellness Warriors and they tend to get their beauty and health advice online or from social media. They want to repair sun damage and prevent premature ageing and are fit and active. They are looking for products that meet their lifestyle needs and that be integrated into their wellness regime.” Swisse counts itself lucky that pharmacies and supermarkets remained open as essential businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Priceline and Chemist Warehouse are both great retailers and partners. They share their insights and have provided key help with the new skincare range. They also have incredible online businesses.”


Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce titan, was kickstarted by the SARS outbreak of 2002-2004 and China is the largest online marketplace in the world. During Alibaba’s 2019 Singles’ Day shopping event last November, Australia ranked third in terms of gross merchandise volume selling into China, after Japan and the US. Four of the top 5 Australian brands were health and supplement companies with Swisse taking out the number one ranking. “We are seeing strong demand for collagen products and powders in China,” says Mann. “We also have major sales in calcium and calcium-related products and grape seed. Chinese consumers have developed a major interest in our clay masks and eye masks and we are looking to capitalise on this momentum with our latest skincare offering. ”


•  Swisse Wellness was founded in Melbourne in 1969 by  Kevin Ring.

•  Radek Sali became CEO in 2007 and under his leadership Swisse became the number one vitamin and supplements brand in Australia and number one in the Chinese online market.

•  Hong Kong-based Biostime International acquired Swisse for AUD$1.7 billion in 2016. The parent company changed its name to the Health and Happiness Group.

•  According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, Swisse revenues for the calendar year 2019 reached AUD$832 million.

•  Swisse entered the Indian market in March this year. The company’s products are available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, India, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands, with plans to launch into 29 more countries over the next five years.

This article was published in the spring issue of esprit.

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