Sci & Tech

Fashion Site Targets App Users

Fashion Site Targets App Users
Fashion Site Targets App Users

Benita, a shopping portal designed to deliver the latest news on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, debuted in Iran this May.

Line, one of the lesser used messaging apps in Iran but popular in Turkmenistan, Thailand and Japan, is backing the new fashion portal.

The portal will offer daily content produced by a team of local Iranian staff writers and a forum where users are encouraged to share and discuss the topics that matter most to them, Tech Crunch reported.

Line has done its homework. Iran’s tech and startup scene has been bubbling with activity and the country’s post-sanctions era is triggering a renaissance of foreign direct investment.

Benita has entered the market from an angle that leverages both their tech and social media expertise while addressing a deep demand among the female population, in particular.

Iran has 39 million women (49% of the population) and 60% of them are younger than 30. To put that into perspective, Iran has the highest share of 15-29-year-olds in the world relative to its overall population.

Women are required to cover their hair and wear modest clothing. This reality enables you to appreciate the Iranian Parliament Research Center’s lofty $4 billion estimate of the domestic beauty and cosmetics industry.

In the bustling streets of northern Tehran lie the latest seasonal collections of top international brands. You can find the trendiest new lineups at boutique shops scattered around this affluent district of Iran’s capital.

On the online front, Instagram is the most popular social network, with more than half of Iranians using the photo-sharing platform to follow trends.

 Enter the Heavy-Hitters

Iran reportedly has 3 million high-net-worth individuals and a luxury market that represents about 2% of the $1 trillion global luxury goods market, reported by Exane BNP Paribas Analyst, Luca Solca.

The female share of that is considerable. However, the market is also rife with counterfeits, which has festered in past years because of a lack of enforcement of international trademark protection agreements.

This will change soon, as the big brands step in. Case in point is the deal recently signed by Italy’s fashion industry during a two-day visit by its Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to build better ties with Iran.

Roberto Cavalli opened its first boutique in Iran this past February. Sephora is set to open shop in autumn in partnership with leading regional luxury retailer, Chalhoub Group. Versace is reportedly gearing up to open its flagship boutique in Tehran soon.

Most, if not all, of these foreign brands establish relationships with local partners; Line is no exception.

They developed Benita in coordination with Edoramedia, a digital agency based in Dubai that is well reputed in the region for developing best-of-class portals and apps.

“Iranians aren’t light users when it comes to tech,” says Hossein Jalali, managing partner at Edoramedia. “They are the most advanced audience in the region and demand the best user experience and offering that any top brand can offer.”

What usually happens next is that alongside the entry and evolution of portals like Benita, a flood of adjacent startups and solutions will emerge. They will rally to compete and support digitization of this female-dominant industry, as the sophistication of the platforms and tools finally begins to match that of an already well-versed audience.

“The retail scene is rapidly changing but the lack of proper retail space makes e-commerce the only choice for new players looking to enter,” says Ehsan Golabgir, CEO of, a popular e-commerce portal in the country.