The current state of the cosmetics market in China

As Chinese people’s consumption levels continue to rise year on year, cosmetic consumption has become an immediate need for women, and contemporary Chinese women’s investment in “beauty” continues to expand.

According to data, the total retail sales of the Chinese cosmetics market reached 307.6 billion yuan in 2020, ranking second in the world after the United States. Fragrances, cosmeceuticals and skin care products with natural ingredients are more popular among Chinese consumers.

An expansion project in China? We can help you!

With such demand, there is fierce competition between Chinese and foreign cosmetic brands in the Chinese market, with a large number and variety of products. The Chinese beauty market is predicted to reach $565.3 billion by 2023. In this huge market, the beauty industry is certainly highly competitive.

Why do beauty brands promote digital marketing ?

In such a crowded track, the best products will not sell well if they are not seen by consumers. So in the beauty industry, quality products are fundamental, while marketing is a “everyday life”.

Due to the impact of the epidemic, more and more beauty brands realize the importance of digital and have turned their attention to private domain operations, using digital tools to improve conversion rates.

On the one hand, they are using digital marketing to promote their brand and build their image, and on the other hand, they are using consumer trends to cater to consumers’ interests and needs and increase conversion rates.

We will now break down the “3 steps” of digital marketing for beauty brands in China.

How to market a cosmetics brand in China

Step 1 : Seeding – grabbing consumers’ attention and getting into their heads.

Seeding means sowing seeds into the soil and planting the brand image or product in the minds of consumers.

The first step is to identify the target group. New beauty brands need to analyze the consumption characteristics, brand preferences and future consumption projections of different groups of people based on big data. These analyses are then combined to segment consumers’ needs and gain their favor.

Currently, brands commonly use content channels including Little Red Book, TikTok, WeChat and many other platforms, each with different user characteristics, content formats and marketing focus.

Little Red Book and TikTok are currently the main marketing platforms in the Chinese cosmetics industry, with their precise algorithms and huge user base, where new brands can achieve high exposure in the most cost-effective way. Both advertising and KOL (Key Opinion Leader) / KOC (Key Opinion Consumer) recommendations enable brands to achieve initial brand communication quickly and efficiently.

Step 2 : Feeding the grass – deepen the impression of the target group and win their trust.

Having successfully brought the brand to the attention of the target group, the brand should build on its success and use quality content to deliver the brand’s value proposition and realise the unity of quality and effectiveness.

At this stage, brands need to establish an authoritative image and increase their interaction with all users. Beauty brands should follow data compliance, find the social media channels that best match the brand’s tone and have the highest overlap with the target audience, and create specific and differentiated operational strategies.

Be prepared for a long-term investment and generate lively discussions through original and creative content (videos and articles) by professionals.

The best marketing platforms, on the other hand, are :

WeChat Public : 

WeChat is the largest and most versatile social platform in China, with 1.29 billion users. The WeChat public website is one of the most important links within the WeChat ecosystem. When Chinese consumers come across a new brand, they will first search for it on the WeChat or Baidu platform to determine its authenticity and reliability.

A good official WeChat public website can help clients to quickly position that brand and present everything to their customers, catering to their every need: product content, brand events, brand stories, customer service and issuing gift vouchers.

Little Red Book

Little Red Book is still not absent at this stage, as the target group will continue to search for keywords on the search engine after “stumbling” upon the product on Little Red Book. The real product reviews and other consumer ratings presented to them by Xiaohongshu will be an important influencing factor in their purchasing decisions.

Baidu :

Baidu, as the largest search engine in China, continues to have a high level of authority. The first page of a Baidu search is very important for a brand’s image and the brand must ensure that there is no negative news in the search results of Baidu. Otherwise, sensitive consumers will immediately remove the brand from their shopping list and find it difficult to trust again, and marketing done on other platforms can easily be undone by foregone conclusions.

Step 3 : Reap the rewards of your work – make sales

The final step for beauty brands in China is to guide consumers towards purchase. The buying phase and the way it is done are two of the most important factors. This is why we highlight the most popular trends and methods in China: party/celebration marketing and live shopping.

Chinese people rarely buy products from the official website, most of them go directly to e-commerce platforms to buy branded products. The reason is simple : they do not want to buy fake products and they trust the most popular platforms.

Here are the different platforms selling beauty products in China :

Tmall International :

Tmall International is Taobao’s authoritative platform for selling imported products. Cosmetic brands can sell their products directly on Tmall or set up their own official flagship shops on the platform, making it an ideal platform for foreign brands to launch in China.

Jingdong International :

With its 618 shopping festivals and excellent logistics system, many imported beauty brands use it to sell in China.

RED / Xiaohongshu social network :

Xiaohongshu also has its own e-commerce platform, allowing consumers to take advantage of a one-stop shop to be properly recommended and buy with peace of mind.

WeChat app :

The WeChat app is a direct purchase app within the WeChat ecosystem. Easy and convenient to use, it offers consumers a wide range of products and brands great visibility.

At the 2021 Tmall Shopping Festival, beauty and skin care brands performed very well, earning $37.34 billion and $7.65 billion respectively. This demonstrates the enthusiasm of Chinese consumers for shopping festivals.

Online sales also witnesses the strong purchasing power of Chinese households and their interest for live shopping. Li Jiaqi, China’s “live star” specializing in beauty and cosmetics, attracts an average of 20 million viewers per live broadcast.

If you want to know more about the Chinese cosmetics market, contact STAiiRS!

We will provide you with the most professional advice according to your specific needs.