Skincare is a big thing in China and Asia. Want to bring your product to the Chinese skincare market?
Skincare is a big market in China because beauty product will be consumed daily and the product nature yields repeatable purchase. Apart from woman, more and more men in China and Asia also buy skincare products in daily basis such as face wash, toner, face cream, perfume etc.
The skincare market in China has been lead by big international players such as L’Oreal Paris, Lancôme, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Clinique, the market is also dominated by Korean and Japanese big brands such as SKII, Shiseido, DHC, Sulwhasoo, The Faceshop, skinfood etc.
Below are top 10 skincare brands presented by Baidu search ranking (Baidu Fengyun Bang百度风云榜). Baidu Fengyun Bang, in some way it is similar to Google Trend. From a quick snapshot of Baidu skincare and cosmetic index, you can see no Chinese brand is listed within the top 10 popular brand, but some Chinese local skincare and cosmetic brands do fall into the 11-20 range, due to the fact that these Chinese local brands use the ancient Chinese and Asian skincare ingredients to appeal to customers who believe the use of Chinese and Asian ingredients such as Chinese medicine (中草药植物) etc, and the price is obviously cheaper than foreign brand.
As you can see above, the top 10 skincare brands have been dominated by big international players from Paris, USA, and Japan. (Sceenshot is captured on 13 July 2015)
Below shows 11-20 most searched skincare brands in Baidu: A mixture of Chinese and western brands.
Below shows 21-30 most searched skincare brands in Baidu: A mixture of Chinese, Japanese, and western brands
Below shows 31-40 most searched skincare brands in Baidu: A mixture of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and western brands.
Below shows 41-50 most searched skincare brands in Baidu: A mixture of Chinese and western brands
As you can see, China’s skincare industry is a international battlefield, which has different players from different countries, France, USA, Japan, Korea etc.
Skincare is an experience product. It got to be experienced, felt, touched and used.
There are a lot of times when I heard a lot of my Chinese female friends (and also western female friends) complained that the skincare products are not as good as they imagined after they made purchase, thus more and more Chinese female consumers tend to seek other people’s feedback and opinions on the post-usage experience on particular skincare products, whether the product can achieve what advertisement claim. Thus there are a lot of long tail keywords search queries in Baidu regarding skincare products such as “When to use facial mask?”, “How to make DIY skincare mask?”, “Whitening facial mask skincare brands ranking”, “What type of skincare brands are the best?” etc.
Examples of long-tail skincare search queries in Baidu (Captured in Baidu search ranking – Baidu Fengyun Bang百度风云榜)
European skincare brands are popular among Chinese consumers, due to the fact that there are abundance of natural skincare ingredients that are available to make skincare products, and companies have a higher, stricter standard, and better quality control.
Although the Chinese market in huge, it is not easy to enter the Chinese skincare market due to extensive legal and regulation in Chinese skincare industry.
There would be more complexity in “product testing” required for the Chinese market as compared to, for examples, rules in Europe. One of the examples is “animal testing”, which is one of the product testing requirements in China, verses in the case of Europe, “animal testing” is prohibited. Check this article that talks about latest update on animal testing in China. Some cosmetic legal companies also provide consultancy advices to foreign brands to tackle the issue of animal testing in China.
As the rule of thumb said “Conquer one market/city/town, before moving big to the whole country.” We only have 24 hours a day and resources is always scared, we start small but do the best.
For start-up UK and Europe beauty brands, it is recommended to narrow down and grow fans in one city, before conquering a whole country. Since the weather situation, consumers attitudes and behaviours for different China regions are different, it is better to see if the consumers in particular region have a need for your skincare product range. For example, in Northern China, the weather is more dry and winter is a long season, it is better to offer skincare products that are much more moisturizing i.e. cream-based products. For southern region of China, the weather is more humid and season generally hotter, so it is better to offer liquid/water based skincare products such as skincare toner, spray etc.
Hong Kong, due to easy regulation as compared to China, is an excellent place to start, test the market, and collect customers’ feedback on your skincare range.
Need more tips to develop online presence for your skincare product in China and in Hong Kong? Talk to us!
Talk to you soon!
Co-founder of Red Digital China
Over the past eight years, Sarah has led and executed successful digital campaigns for a range of international and local companies in China, Hong Kong and internationally, including: Hong Kong Ocean Park, agnes b, Volkswagen, Premium Tax Free – Watches of Switzerland and Damiani. She has worked with property, travel and hospitality, luxury and fashion clients. As a native Chinese speaker fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, Sarah is also a popular Chinese lifestyle, fashion and travel blogger.
During the day, she was working for Red Digital China, during the night, she expands her interest in creating story-telling content, design, drawing etc.