The global hair-removal industry is big business, with one estimate valuing it at €3.5 billion (Dh16.12bn).
Here, Nidal Naji, the regional sales director for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Lumenis, one of the world's largest medical and cosmetic laser maker, speaks about the popularity of the industry here in the Emirates.
How popular is laser hair-removal in the UAE?
It's getting more and more popular.
Is it popular with men or women?
It's definitely most popular with women but we are seeing that men are starting to seek [laser hair-removal] not just regionally, but also internationally.
What type of areas do men and women most often use laser-hair removal for?
Men tend to focus mainly on their back and upper chest area and arms. What we're seeing is more men are electing to shape their beard using laser, where they will actually trim it in a way that they don't have to constantly keeping going through the threading process of picking up the hairs in the upper part of the cheek and the lower area of the neck. The one they go after the next is the back. Women tend to go for the full body [treatment].
When did Lumenis first enter the market here?
We have been selling products into this region since the early 1990s promoting the various medical lasers into multiple medical disciplines, so we can get involved in the aesthetic segment, the ophthalmology segment as well as the surgical segment.
What kind of growth have you seen in sales of your machines?
It's been constantly climbing. I would say from a client perspective, the end user for the services it is averaging about 15 per cent per year.
It is a competitive industry. How do you set itself apart from other laser manufacturers?
A lot of physics and medical research goes into the development of the products. Our approach is the medical approach, by understanding the skin and the interaction between the laser and the tissue. We designed a system that targets the melanin. The more the melanin we have, the darker the hair is.
What is your market share in the UAE?
About 35 per cent. We also have a very nice market share in Jordan. We're about 55 per cent there. The rest of the region fluctuates between 5 per cent to a maximum of 20 per cent.
What is your strategy to try to improve your market share where you are weak?
We're working on establishing proper distribution channels. At the same time, we want to get involved in some of the campaigns which will educate the general public who actually go in for laser hair-removal. [We want to help them] understand the benefits they will receive by going after the Lumenis [machines].
* Gillian Duncan
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