Beauty market in China
China is the world’s second-largest beauty market after the U.S. in terms of revenue and consumption value. It is also one of the fastest-growing and most promising fields of business in China for the near future.
As a result of urbanization, growing disposable income, and social media influence, the beauty, and personal care market is facing a burgeoning demand for higher quality, premium, high-end brand products.
It’s an extremely profitable industry, as a matter of fact, revenue in the beauty market amounts to over $55 million thus far in 2020. The market is expected to grow annually by 7.1 percent through 2023.
Because of changes in consumer behavior and the greater proliferation of e-commerce, to be successful within the Chinese beauty industry, you don’t have to be a big cosmetic brand like L’Oréal, Estee Lauder or SK-II; smaller brands still have the opportunity to excel as long as they understand the value of branding.
Chinese beauty shoppers are steadily on the pursuit of the latest and greatest cosmetics to match their consumer-centric lifestyles. This means that brands should utilize innovative and personalized strategies to draw the attention of these consumers.
In 2018, the online retail sales value of cosmetic products in China amounted to approximately 194.4 billion yuan. This number was forecasted to exceed 350 billion yuan by 2024.
On April 23, the world’s largest prestige beauty retailer Sephora launched its authoritative list of 2020 Spring/Summer global beauty trends in China on the first-ever Virtual Sephora Day, achieving millions of viewerships. The innovative digital initiative was live-streamed on Sephora’s WeChat Mini Program, Tmall, and JD.com, presenting more than 100 new or classic products “Only at Sephora” from 43 worldwide brands including Sephora Collection, the company’s private-label craved by Chinese young customers. The unprecedented Virtual Sephora Day demonstrates Sephora’s relentless commitment to its “True Retail” concept and continuously pioneering the beauty industry.
Led by Sephora’s Beauty Master team, the live stream engaged beauty editors from top fashion magazines and popular beauty bloggers to discuss six curated global beauty trends – Targeted Skincare, Glossy Girl, Jungle Adventure, Naughty Braids, Floral Fragrance and Environmental Respect. The engaging activation brought to life Sephora’s cutting-edge interpretation and pragmatic philosophy on skincare, makeup, fragrance, and haircare trends from the 2020 Spring/Summer couture season.
Virtual Sephora Day has proven the brand’s innovative interpretation of the true omnichannel experience by effectively integrating its business, media, and social touchpoints with consumers, enabling more beauty lovers in China to challenge stereotypes and redefine their very own power of beauty.
WHAT ARE THE 6 BEAUTY TRENDS IN CHINA IN 2020?
Words like “Natural”, “green”, “clean” are spreading profusely amongst Chinese influencers and KOLs nowadays to promote “green beauty” on Chinese platforms. With Chinese consumers’ upsurge in household income, there is a stronger demand for skincare products with natural ingredients as these consumers are able to pay for a premium to derive the benefits of organic beauty products. 54% of Gen-Z consumers say they value plant-based skincare when asked about skincare concepts.
Use of live streaming
Using live streaming to sell products is not a new trend, but it’s increasingly popular year-after-year.
Influencers run special live streaming events (sometimes for 24 hours at a time) and often they’ll sell out of event items making this marketing technique particularly powerful to drive both awareness and sales.
Advantages of using live streaming :
- A fast increase in product popularity
- Increase brand awareness and sales
- An increasingly popular way for consumers to buy products due to discounts
The increasing popularity of traditional Chinese ingredients
Native Chinese beauty brands are gradually gaining more market share, as Chinese consumers are looking towards more preventive health properties and benefits, which has translated to the resurgence of traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or “中草药” (Chinese Traditional Herbs) are being used in more and more products. As Chinese heritage becomes more popular among younger consumers, the market share is predicted to increase dramatically in the coming years.
Big brands (both global and local) start to incorporate ancient Chinese beauty ingredients into their product lines.
Quick and simple products
As the demands of modern society increase, consumers are looking to take shortcuts and keep their skincare and makeup routines quick and simple.
According to the consumer-trends report by Alibaba Group’s Taobao Marketplace, spending on ‘lazy’ consumer products in China has increased by 70% from the previous year. Lazy beauty and makeup products like stamp eyebrows and one swipe gradient eyeshadows have increased by 150% in the same time period.
Beyond promoting natural ingredients as a strategy to appeal to organic consumers, beauty brands can also ride the wave of men’s skincare and explore China’s male-dominated demographics. In an environment where there is a traditionally skewed gender ratio and preference towards the males, cosmetics that target men have seen remarkable growth in the Chinese beauty market in recent years.
Men’s willingness to use skincare and make-up products and consequently spend on such products has surged due to their growing consciousness about their appearances and looks.
Increase in make-up products
Historically China’s focus was on skincare, but there’s been a clear shift towards more makeup products (with base makeup being the most popular category).
Base Makeup is one of China’s fastest-growing beauty categories overall. In May 2019 the base makeup category grew year on year by 257.9% verse average growth rate of 151.3% across all categories.
OMNICHANNEL STRATEGY IN THE BEAUTY MARKET IN CHINA
Omnichannel enables the customer to stay interested in the brand and links with their need for instant gratification and constant social media validation.
95% of Chinese shoppers identify as omnichannel shoppers.
This behavior has seen brands such as Sephora integrate various platforms and marketing strategies to engage with their customer base on a variety of different channels including T-Mall, JD.com, WeChat, and its own website Sephora.cn.
Due to this information, it is easy to understand how fundamental omnichannel, such as Tmall, Wechat, and JD.com, are for the beauty market in China.
How can you use Omnichannel to promote your brand in China?
There are several steps to follow to integrate your business, media, and social touchpoints with consumers. This is even more true when it comes to the beauty market, where the rise of the millennial generation has played an important role in the growing demand of the cosmetics market together with the awakening of health-conscious consumers.
These beauty consumers really take the time to research and analyze product reviews before making a purchase decision. The decision generally depends on the desire to obtain products with better ingredients and improved functionality rather than the price.
GMA can help you through the best omnichannel strategy for your brand, to achieve your Chinese consumers.
Below you will find some important points for success :
Invest in reputation through :
These are important for a brand to share its brand story, value, and products. WeChat & Weibo will always be great picks when it comes to brand recognition because they are some of the first social media platforms that Chinese users will use to learn more about your products and brand.
Livestreaming might be the perfect choice when it comes to showcasing the personalization and authenticity of your beauty products.
Lives streaming are popular in China and are particularly loved by users for their ability to be transparent and authentic. In China, companies also integrate live streaming into their internationalization strategies, for their ability to engage large masses of users in minutes. The KOLs, in all this, are the key that guides the listening.
Brands are using the WeChat app to go beyond generic marketing, and towards a more personal level of connection, interaction, and targeting. Many are finding that taking a customer-centered approach through WeChat yields better results than the ‘one-sidedness’ of simply posting and sharing blogs and other content.
Examples of connecting through WeChat include offering special deals and exclusive content for subscribers, samples for testing, live event invites, games and competitions with prizes, and loyalty programs. For instance, well-known brands have developed mini-sites to offer make-up tips and fashion tests.
On a marketing level, Weibo offers a huge variety of activities that you can carry out to promote your brand. First of all, it can help increase brand awareness, which through an official channel, collaborations with influencers, and targeted advertising campaigns can undergo a rapid increase.
In addition, through user-friendly Chinese content created specifically for the target, it is possible to guarantee greater visibility for events and promotions.
A final aspect to consider is that Alibaba has a stake in Weibo: for this reason, Weibo is very useful as a drive to eCommerce channels. It gives, in fact, the possibility of inserting external links to e-commerce, at the same time increasing visibility and sales.
For instance, well-known beauty brands, like Sephora and Perfect Diary, have developed their marketing strategy on Weibo.
The preferred channel for influencers to communicate with their audience is Weibo, as it is an open social network that allows you to reach a huge user base. In addition to the ordinary micro-blogging features, it also offers a service particularly appreciated by the KOLs: live streaming. In fact, Weibo has a connected video streaming platform that allows you to watch live broadcasts directly within the social network and publish them in the official profile feed.
Douyin (抖音)or Tik Tok is a short video app well known in China.
Among the most loved videos on TikTok there are certainly the videos of cosmetics and beauty care, which are very popular on Douyin, with experts on the subject who explain all the tricks to always look your best.
As a matter of fact, on this platform, KOLs play an important role.
Funny and creative makeup tutorials, which can now be found everywhere on live streaming platforms like Douyin and Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu).
RED’s user-generated content plays a big role in helping Chinese consumers shape brand perception and build brand loyalty. It encourages users to share their personal experiences with products, gives tips, and provide discounted information. This app is turning into the social commerce hub for beauty beginners and professionals alike.
Hire the right KOLs
Whether you are interested in boosting awareness or generating leads, a KOL can do wonders for reaching your ideal audience. Your KOL search should consist of choosing an influencer that has quality content and deep insights into their viewers.
Chinese consumers tend to make the purchasing decision based on information they collect from different social media channels, making digital key opinion leaders (KOLs) incredibly important for beauty brands.
Three most powerful beauty bloggers in China
- Lei Yunqi, whose online acronym is MK Liangliang, has over 1.4 million followers on Weibo. She began beauty blogging in 2014 when she posted make-up tutorials on both Weibo and WeChat. Her qualifications as a makeup artist are hotly debated by followers.
- Mint Q is a UK-based blogger who offers beauty tips based on her extensive academic research and real-life experiments. In 2015, she began writing articles explaining the fundamentals behind skincare products by high-end brands such as Estée Lauder and Lancôme.
- Junping Big Devil (aka Fang Junping) is one of the most well-known male beauty bloggers in China.
Create your branding/brand awareness through:
E-commerce traffic improvement
GMA can help you to improve your traffic in e-commerce platform, more traffic means more sales. Given the reputation of e-commerce in China, it is essential to have a strategy that creates a seamless experience for self-care products. Your brand must include items such as free samples, exclusive products, discounts, and some form of loyalty program when buyers visit your products online. You should offer a quality customer service experience.
The Chinese cross-border e-commerce sector has become extremely popular with beauty consumers and one of the main doors to buy international cosmetic products. Cross-border e-commerce can be an efficient and inexpensive way to showcase your beauty products without setting up an offline store.
Here are some of the best platforms to consider to sell your beauty products in China:
Tmall.com (天猫) is a Chinese website for business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail. It is a platform for local Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Tmall’s sales of beauty products jumped by more than 60% last year. According to a joint report by Tmall and market-research firm Kantar released during the Tmall Beauty Awards, online sales of cosmetics, skincare and personal-care products in China grew 46%, 40% and 37%, respectively, at a quicker pace than fast-moving consumer goods overall, which increased by 34%.
Tmall has now become the de facto, primary e-commerce destination for premium beauty. Some premium brands, rather than investing in their own website, are using Tmall to reach consumers.
JD.com is one of the leaders in e-commerce. It is an eCommerce platform that boasts an incredibly wide range of products that includes categories such as cosmetics, fresh food, clothing, and much more. Therefore JD offers incredible opportunities to foreign brands that want to sell their beauty products.
Jumei (Jumei YouPin) is an online sale mall, which mainly provides consumers with cosmetics and luxury products. It was founded in March 2010 formerly known as Tuanmei.com.
Jumei is a pioneer of the “cosmetic group purchase” model. Every day, the platform recommends a dozen of popular cosmetics. The platform particularly welcomes foreign companies that are having great success with Chinese consumers.
Meizhuangxinde has become a great reference platform for cosmetics in China where users share their experiences and advice on the best use of beauty products. Some of the platform’s main functions include branding discounts, cosmetics’ ranking lists, and testing, and a product library.
Kaola is an e-commerce platform which provides online sales of various imported products via cross-border e-commerce. The products range from cosmetics, household products, food supplements, clothing and accessories.
Cosmetics and fashion brands often consider Kaola as the gateway to the Chinese beauty and skincare market. It provides international companies the opportunity to sell their products securely to Chinese consumers and is known for cost-effective and trustworthy products among shoppers since the platforms buys products directly from foreign companies.
Do you want to know more about How to enter in the Chinese beauty market? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in Chinese digital market.
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