Market study henna for the Middle East and Europe

The We-Fi project implemented by the World Bank aimed to strengthen the connection of Mauritanian women's businesses to new markets. In particular, the purpose was to help the companies enter the two key export markets for henna powder – the Middle East and Europe – by providing them with the information necessary to improve their knowledge of these markets.

We conducted a detailed study into the Middle East and European markets for natural henna powder. We presented the results of this study during an onsite workshop with stakeholders of the Mauritanian henna sector that took place in Nouakchott.

The first step in the market analysis was the identification of the best target markets. Based on our in-house developed market selection tool we identified the highest potential priority target markets in Europe and the Middle East, including France and United Arab Emirates.

After having identified these target markets, we performed an in-depth analysis of the top three target markets per continent. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research was used. The following topics were covered in the market study:

  • Trade flow analysis
  • Trends
  • Legal, buyer, and niche market requirements
  • Marketing and distribution channels
  • Competitor analysis (including perception and performance of Mauritanian henna suppliers vis-a-vis competitors)
  • Price trends
  • Promotion practices
  • Conclusions
  • Positioning recommendations and suggestions for Mauritanian henna businesses

In addition, we created a long list of potential buyers for each target market. To get more insights into the type of buyers, we created four buyer profiles. It contained detailed information on their requirements and current suppliers, for Mauritanian SMEs to learn from.

Lastly, during the event held in Nouakchott, we presented the results of the market study to beneficiaries and partners selected by the We-Fi team. Moreover, an interactive workshop session was held with relevant stakeholders of the Mauritanian henna sector to identify the needs of the henna sector and the next steps to be taken to prepare the sector for the international market.


Henna powder


2022 – 2023



Type of activity

  • Market Intelligence


1. Conducting a best market selection:

  • Developing and tailoring the market selection tool to the stakeholders needs in Mauritania.
  • Conducting statistical analysis and desk research.
  • Validating findings through conducting interviews with four buyers/experts in the EU and Middle East markets.
  • Reporting of the results.

2. Conducting further market analysis through:

  • Desk research, using country-specific reports, associations, literature, etc.
  • Trade flow analysis, and quantitative research using statistical databases and tools.
  • Interviews with Mauritanian exporters/producers to better understand their needs and exportable offers.
  • Interviews with buyers, importers, sector experts, associations, and target market promotion bodies to identify key success factors for henna suppliers.
  • Trade fair visits: In-Cosmetics Global (Barcelona) and Vivaness (Nurnberg).
  • Reporting of the results into a final market study report.

3. Developing longlists of potential buyers and buyer profiles:

  • Searching for potential buyers in buyer databases and horizontal sector portals.
  • Conducting qualitative research (interviews with longlisted buyers).
  • Composing a database, including company information of the potential buyers.

4. Delivering presentations and interactive workshop sessions:

  • Development of two Powerpoint presentations for the workshop sessions in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
  • Delivering presentations and interactive workshops with the stakeholders in the Mauritanian henna sector.
  • Co-creating strategies towards enhanced export performance.


Among the key results are:

  • Top three priority target markets for henna powder identified: Germany, France, the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
  • Market analysis reports completed:  a detailed analysis of the top three potential markets for henna powder in the EU and the Middle East.
  • Around 15 potential buyers for each selected target market identified.
  • Buyer profiles completed with detailed information about their needs and requirements.
  • Interactive workshop conducted with the relevant stakeholders of the henna sector in Mauritania.
  • Export strategies co-created.