With natural beauty trends dominating the local and global markets, skin care products are becoming more popular among Chinese consumers.
The segment continues to show rapid growth every year, making it an indispensable part of China’s beauty and personal care market.
And while there’s no denying that the country has a lucrative beauty industry, the question remains; are Chinese consumers open to buying foreign skincare products?
In this article, we’ll explore how international skincare brands can enter the Chinese market and discuss crucial insights marketers should note to launch a successful campaign.
Is Skincare Popular in China?
Yes, skincare is the holy grail of beauty brands in China. You may not know, but the country is one of the largest markets of skincare products worldwide. According to Statista’s data, the segment generated an impressive revenue of 17 billion US dollars in 2023.
As long as the market stays at this pace, the experts predict that the skincare segment in China will increase gradually by 5.39% every year until 2028. By then, the expected revenue for skincare in China should reach at least 22 billion US dollars.
Source: Revenue of Skincare Products in China – Statista
If you look at the graph above, you’ll see that the local market in China has had increasing revenues for different skin care products over the years. However, the beauty brands with the most demand are still in the face category.
It’s not a surprise that facial beauty products saw more demand each year, mainly because the Chinese culture has a very specific standard when it comes to physical attractiveness.
The market’s changing needs led local and international brands to innovate specific products for sensitive skin, different skin tone types, oily skin, etc. Thanks to these varied offerings, the market became more enthusiastic about incorporating skincare into everyday lifestyles.
Source: Skincare Product Users in China (By Income) – Statista
Another sign that the skin care beauty market will continue to rise in popularity is its varied user demographic. The Chinese middle class continues to gain purchasing power, so it’s only natural that they’re the leading consumers of skin care beauty products in China.
Meanwhile, the percentages of skincare product demands from high and lower-income demographic are similar. The statistical data you see above shows that the popularity of this market segment does not begin or end with popular cosmetics trends but the actual need for personal care products.
Source: Skincare Product Users in China (By Gender) – Statista
On top of income groups, the very telling sign that skincare beauty brands will retain their high demand for years to come is the equal user demographics between the male and female population in China.
While women are still the dominating consumers of skincare-related products in China, with 58.3%, Chinese men cover quite a significant user base of 48.1%.
The evolving beauty consciousness in both gender populations allowed China to become a market leader, driving increasing revenue despite the restrictions and financial crisis caused by the concluded pandemic.
How to Enter the Skincare Beauty Market in China: 5 Steps
1. Conduct a Thorough Market Study
Like it or not, recently launched skin care products will have difficulty going head-to-head against well-known brands in China. So before entering the Chinese skincare market, it’s essential to conduct a comprehensive market study.
You must gather competitive market intelligence data, like consumer preferences, trends, and challenges specific to the Chinese market. Besides that, you must also recognize that a known Chinese brand holds significant sway, so new products like yours will need to differentiate themselves effectively.
2. Localize Your Skin Care Brand
Localization is critical to connecting with Chinese consumers. This strategy typically involves adapting your brand messaging, packaging, and product offerings to resonate with the local culture and preferences.
However, beyond that, it’s also crucial for your website to be optimized appropriately if you want to establish a digital presence in China. From content translation to website design and development, you can find specialized agencies like Sekkei Digital Group to guide you through these steps.
3. Establish Online Presence on Top Chinese Social Media Channels
Chinese social media platforms play a pivotal role in marketing and brand awareness. If you want to engage with your potential audience in China and keep tabs on their skincare and cosmetics preferences, here are the channels you must explore.
● Little Red Book
Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book, is a unique platform that seamlessly blends social media and e-commerce. It’s a hotspot for beauty enthusiasts to share their experiences, reviews, and recommendations on makeup, skin care, and other cosmetics products in the market.
Through the Little Red Book platform, a non-local skin care beauty brand can launch a marketing campaign that encourages user-generated content. By doing so, you’ll be able to create an authentic connection with potential customers in China.
And since most beauty enthusiasts in China are gathered in this app, it’s also a great chance to collaborate with relevant key opinion leaders (KOLs) and influencers. Their endorsements can enhance your skin care brand’s credibility and online presence.
Unlike other social media channels, Douyin thrives on short-form video content. Because of this, it offers an opportunity to raise awareness about skin care and promote products in a dynamic way.
Foreign brands can create short and engaging videos that showcase your products in action. Demonstrate how to use them effectively to address various skincare concerns.
It can also offer a glimpse into your brand’s processes, whether it’s product development, packaging design, or day-to-day operations. This transparency can foster a deeper connection with your audience.
● WeChat Stores
Setting up a WeChat Store provides you with a direct channel to sell products and build a loyal customer base. You can create a mini-program for your skincare brand to provide seamless shopping experiences for your potential consumers in China.
On top of that, you’ll also get the chance to engage with customers through personalized messaging. Send updates about new products, special promotions, and skincare tips directly to their WeChat inbox.
WeChat Stores also allow customers to make purchases without leaving the app. The integration of social sharing and shopping enhances convenience and encourages virality.
4. Get Familiar with the Regulatory Policies
Like other cosmetics, the local skincare industry is subject to specific regulatory policies. You should know that China has stringent safety standards for products coming in and out of the country.
These standards include ingredient safety, efficacy claims, and potential allergens. Products may need to undergo testing to verify compliance with these standards, including assessments for skin irritation, allergy potential, and microbial contamination.
If you plan to enter the Chinese market through cross-border e-commerce platforms, be aware of the specific regulations that apply to such sales. These regulations may impact the types of products you can sell and the quantities allowed for import.
5. Utilize Reliable Chinese Cross-Border Platforms
To facilitate a gradual entry into the Chinese market and gauge consumer interest before a comprehensive launch, you can consider leveraging cross-border e-commerce platforms.
● Tmall Global
Powered by the Alibaba Group, Tmall Global is a widely recognized cross-border platform that grants international brands direct access to Chinese consumers.
With its reputation for authenticity and quality, Tmall Global offers an ideal avenue for showcasing your skincare products to a discerning audience seeking genuine foreign merchandise in China.
● JD Worldwide
JD Worldwide, affiliated with JD.com, boasts an expansive range of product categories and a robust logistics infrastructure. This cross-border platform presents multiple entry pathways, including direct sales and marketplace models. You can capitalize on JD Worldwide’s comprehensive reach to introduce your skincare brand to Chinese consumers.
What are popular trends in the Chinese Skincare Market?
1. Natural and Organic
We all know that traditional Chinese medicine is a natural medical system that many people in China have been using for many years.
Similar to this belief, local skin care consumers also developed a growing preference for products formulated with natural and organic ingredients.
For a foreign beauty brand, it’s crucial to note that some consumers in China prefer cosmetics and skin care products with traditional Chinese medicine or herbal ingredients.
2. Advanced Technology and Innovation
Besides traditional Chinese medicine and herbal ingredients, consumers in China exhibited a keen interest in skincare products that seamlessly integrated advanced technology.
The selections they prefer include smart skincare devices and products boasting innovative formulations. In China, unique textured facial masks, intelligent skincare gadgets, and personalized skin regimens were particularly sought after.
3. K-Beauty Influence
While not particularly new, Korean skincare trends still have considerable influence in China. The popularity of these trendy products died down in 2021, but recent surveys and statistics show that they’re regaining their traction in the market.
If you look at the graph below, you’ll see that around 57.7% of the surveyed consumers in China still think that K-Beauty influence is still widespread in the country.
It means that there’s still a significant number of Chinese people with an appetite for multi-step skincare routines, as well as skincare products like essences, serums, and sheet masks that were popularized by the Korean skincare regimen.
Source: Popularity of South Korean beauty products in China from 2018 to 2022 – Statista
4. Men’s Skincare
Amid the evolving landscape of the beauty industry in China, a discernible and gradual upsurge emerged in the men’s skincare market. Distinct from the conventional makeup brand trends, this trend spotlighted the increasing resonance of skincare routines among men.
As more men transcended the confines of traditional grooming practices, a fascination with skincare products gained momentum. This phenomenon marked a shift from perfunctory routines to a more comprehensive and intentional approach to self-care for men in China.
This evolving mindset was characterized by a desire for enhanced well-being and a heightened understanding of the significant role that proper skincare plays in overall appearance and self-confidence.
With the given demand, brands quickly recognized the untapped market’s potential and responded with strategic initiatives. Recognizing the unique needs and preferences of male consumers, brands introduced dedicated skincare lines tailored to this demographic.
5. The Clean Beauty Trend
Reflecting a broader global movement, China’s rising interest in “clean beauty” emerged. Consumers demonstrated a preference for products devoid of harmful ingredients, while transparent labeling was also prioritized in China.
This demand for transparency extended beyond mere ingredient disclosure, encompassing information about sourcing practices, manufacturing processes, and sustainability efforts.
You may not know, but top Chinese skincare brands that followed this level of transparency were often better received by influential beauty enthusiasts in China. They’re also more likely to foster trust and loyalty among consumers who value integrity and authenticity.
6. Health-Driven Skin Regimens
An increasingly prevalent concept was the recognition that inner health is intricately linked to external beauty.
Consumers in China displayed a heightened interest in products that not only tackled external skin concerns but also fostered overall skin health through nutrition and lifestyle considerations.
The best Chinese skincare brands tend to follow this trend, releasing products aimed to safeguard the skin against the adverse effects of environmental stressors, reflecting an increasing awareness of skin protection within urban environments.
For example, the mounting concern over air pollution’s impact on skin health drove a heightened demand for products equipped with anti-pollution properties.
Ready To Dominate The Chinese Skincare Market? Get In Touch With Us Today!
Although China has many thriving market sectors, the local skincare segment stands out as an incredible landscape for foreign beauty brands. And despite its promising business landscape, it’s essential to recognize that this market is characterized by dynamic and intricate challenges that may need the guidance of seasoned professionals.
At Sekkei Digital Group, we possess an in-depth understanding of the subtleties inherent to the Chinese skincare market – including consumer behaviors and the ever-evolving trends that shape it. With our extensive expertise in this niche, we offer you the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential and secure a formidable position as a leading entity in the industry.
Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social media platforms, or making waves with PR, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the intricacies of the Chinese skincare business scene.