When talking about Chinese beauty standards, most people often think that it refers to the expected physical appearance of women in China. However, over the past few years, the male beauty categories have started gaining popularity and are setting a new trend in the local cosmetics market.
Today, China’s male beauty market has an impressive value of over $10 billion. With Chinese men more interested in grooming and personal care items, many international brands are now ready to tap into the emerging business opportunities in this sector.
Don’t get left behind! Join us in exploring the ins and outs of the male beauty market in China, along with the trends foreign brands can utilize to succeed in the local business scene.
What is the beauty standard for men in China?
Like women, Chinese men are expected to maintain a fair complexion. Because of this, skincare routines and products that promote skin whitening or brightening have become extremely popular within China’s male beauty market.
Besides that, the high demand for men’s skincare products in China stems from the male beauty standards of keeping a youthful appearance. It includes looking modern, neat, and styled.
Man putting on makeup on Douyin
So, on top of being part of the skincare market, Chinese male consumers are also known to patronize male grooming products.
Furthermore, male beauty brands should note that these standards are not limited to grooming practices. It could branch out to health and wellness as there’s a prevailing preference for a lean, fit physique rather than overly muscular or bulky-looking body.
Evolution of Chinese Male Beauty Consumers
Since it’s an emerging market, new brands must get to know the male beauty consumers in China. Remember that various cultural, social, and media influences shape how Chinese consumers perceive male cosmetics.
Here are some key takeaways that’ll help you understand this demographic better:
- The primary consumers of male grooming products are Chinese Millennial and Generation Z
- The male beauty industry in China includes non-traditional categories like cosmetics, fragrances, and skin care products.
- The “Male Beauty Era” was initiated by Alibaba’s Tmall group due to the rising total value of this market segment.
- The availability of male beauty brands on e-commerce platforms has contributed to the growth of this industry.
Top Chinese Male Beauty Market Trends You Must Know
● Heightened Demand for Male Skincare Products
The Chinese market is seemingly steering away from the traditional concept of masculinity. Nowadays, there’s a growing acceptance of men taking care of their appearance, including using skincare products.
The presence of international and local brands in the men’s beauty business scene has led the market to generate an overall value of 18.9 billion yuan in 2023. If you look at the graph below, the local skincare market in China shows consistent growth compared to the previous year and is predicted to reach 21.3 billion yuan by 2025.
The market size of male skincare products in China 2020-2025 (Source: Statista)
On top of that, the economic growth in China eventually translates to increased disposable income, particularly among younger generations. This financial capability explains why more men are spending their money on personal care products.
● Continued Influence of Male Chinese Celebrities
In most countries, celebrities often embody and perpetuate the current beauty standards. For example, in China, features like a clear complexion, a well-groomed appearance, and a lean body structure are commonly seen in famous local personalities like Leo Wu, Hou Minghao, and Xiao Zhan.
Xiao Zhan’s endorsement for L’Oreal Pro on Douyin
The rise of the male beauty market in China can also be loosely attributed to the popularity of Korean and Japanese pop culture. With the demand generated by these influences, beauty brands seem to continue utilizing these trends in their cosmetics and personal care products up to this day.
Celebrities are also partly the reason why male grooming and skincare routines were normalized among men in China. The open discussions about these beauty trends resulted in Chinese consumers reducing the stigma that some traditional men may feel about using modern beauty products.
● Growing Acceptance of Male Grooming Practices
In surveys conducted over the last few years, it was reported that male consumers in China spend at least 24 minutes grooming themselves. This rate is significantly higher compared to the global average duration of around five to ten minutes daily.
Since 2016, the local grooming market has been showing consistent growth. In fact, its year-on-year value reached around 6.6% in 2020, leading it to garner 18 billion yuan in 2021 despite the height of the pandemic.
Chinese men, particularly from the Gen Z and Millenial generation, showed an increased demand and sales for male grooming goods like hair care, shaving creams, and deodorants.
When it comes to men’s beauty products, most local consumers often look for brand guarantee, natural ingredients, and cost-effectiveness. As you know, the Chinese market is known for its love of luxury items, so this consumer group wouldn’t dare miss good quality items just because of expensive price tags.
Some of the prominent global brands you’ll see within the male grooming market in China are well-established companies like L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, Olay, and Shiseido.
● Increasing Consumers of Men’s Makeup Products
With the changing view of male consumers about masculinity, cosmetics such as lipstick and bb cream are slowly gaining traction in the Chinese market.
Like the rest of the world, the gender stereotypes in China are becoming less rigid as time passes. With younger men from the Millenial and Gen Z generations leading the local consumer market, male cosmetics are now viewed as a form of self-care rather than vanity.
Male beauty products on Taobao
Although the prevailing opinion among men in China goes against using brands categorized as makeup or cosmetics, Statista’s survey revealed that over 38% of the respondents use these products.
The global companies showing impressive brand growth in this Chinese market segment include Tom Ford, Nivea Men, Chanel, and Unilever.
● Expanding on Diverse Age Groups
In the Chinese market, men aged 18-25 cover around 59.50% of the total consumer base for male beauty products. Meanwhile, the demographic of male customers aged 26-30 also holds a notable share, contributing to 21.30% of this segment.
As the beauty market evolves, there’s a noticeable shift in focus towards middle-aged and older men. While generally not fans of colored cosmetics or makeup, they tend to patronize brands offering products specifically formulated to address age-related skin concerns prevalent in this older age group.
They also tend to go for brands under beauty categories that cater to the unique needs of mature skin, offering solutions for issues like wrinkles, age spots, and loss of elasticity.
How to Effectively Market Male Beauty Products in China
1. Research About Your Target Market & Competitors
Keep in mind that many brands are already thriving in this market segment before you, so it’s always wise to conduct thorough market research to determine where your brand stands.
It’s crucial to comprehend Chinese men’s preferences, needs, and buying habits regarding beauty products. As we said earlier, this market segment is an emerging industry, so new brands must expect constant trend changes like ingredients, packaging preferences, and price points.
You must also study local and international competitors who are successful in the market. Understanding their marketing strategies, product lines, and customer engagement tactics will help you identify gaps in the market and opportunities you must tackle.
2. Collaborate with Male Beauty Bloggers
Partnering with male beauty bloggers and influencers, especially those famous on platforms like Weibo, Douyin, and Xiaohongshu, can be highly effective.
Since these KOLs have a substantial following and can sway public opinion, collaborating on a brand campaign will likely lend credibility and visibility to your product. It can significantly increase brand exposure and sales, as evidenced by numerous successful campaigns on these platforms in the past few years.
Finding a KOL for your brand promotions won’t be that hard since the influencer penetration rate in many local platforms is pretty high. You just have to select an ambassador that resonates with your target market and aligns with the company’s values.
3. Open Online Shops on Local E-Commerce Platforms
China has over 710 million e-commerce consumers, so it’s more than likely that male beauty market consumers are scrolling away within these online marketplaces.
We recommend establishing a virtual storefront on platforms like Tmall, JD.com, and Pinduoduo. These are the leading e-commerce websites in China, so foreign brands can ensure that they offer vast reach and integrated marketing tools.
L’Oréal Skincare Products for Men (Source: Tmall/Taobao)
Besides product quality, selling on e-commerce platforms requires brands to localize virtual stores. It’s not just about the language used in product descriptions and content but also in design, user experience, and payment methods to suit the needs of Chinese consumers.
These online marketplaces also host virtual shopping festivals like Singles’ Day (Double 11), which can drive significant sales and increase brand visibility.
4. Build Brand Presence on Social Media Platforms
Another good place to establish your brand recognition is through social media platforms. Creating professional profiles on apps with high engagement rates, like Douyin, Little Red Book, Weibo, and WeChat, can help build a loyal customer base around a male beauty brand.
It’s also worth noting that these are social commerce platforms. It means that besides engaging with your target audience, you can also lead them to an e-store within the app, and they can purchase without leaving the website.
Chanel’s mini program on WeChat
And since these platforms offer different content formats for your marketing promotions, foreign marketers must determine which one aligns with their brand goals.
While it’s true that globally known brands will have an easier time generating traction within the local market, remember that Chinese consumers are curious and savvy online shoppers.
For a more successful social media campaign, you must develop a content strategy that includes a mix of product information, beauty tips, and lifestyle content.
Interactive and visually appealing content, like short videos and live streams, also tends to perform well for beauty consumers.
5. Localize Your Brand & Website
The Chinese digital landscape is predominantly localized, meaning every platform we just mentioned is primarily written in Chinese.
To increase your brand visibility, you must ensure that your website and any digital content are fully translated into the local language. You must also take into account regional dialects and slang where appropriate.
Shakeup Cosmetics (Source: Tmall/Taobao)
You can also try adapting your brand to resonate with Chinese cultural values and aesthetic preferences. It should include localizing your brand name, logo, product packaging, and marketing messages.
Like any other business industry in China, selling your product online also means you must comply with local regulations and internet policies, especially regarding website hosting, advertising, data privacy, and online payments.
How big is the male beauty industry in China?
The male beauty industry in China has been predicted to reach the $10 billion mark in the next few years and is expected to double the market value by 2026. This growth and development is mainly driven by the increasing acceptance of male grooming, influenced by cultural changes and digital marketing.
Do men wear makeup in China?
Yes, men wearing makeup is becoming increasingly common in China, particularly among younger generations. Influenced by pop culture and shifting standards, products like BB creams, concealers, and lip tints are gaining popularity among men. While still a relatively small segment compared to women’s makeup, men’s makeup is a growing trend in urban areas and among fashion-forward demographics.
Do Chinese men do skincare?
Absolutely. skincare has become an integral part of grooming routines for many Chinese men. Factors such as increased health awareness, the influence of social media, and the availability of male-specific products have popularized skin care among men. Products targeting skin cleansing, hydration, anti-aging, and sun protection are trendy.
Ready To Dominate The Chinese Male Beauty Market? Get In Touch With Us Today!
The male beauty market in China presents a remarkable opportunity for foreign beauty brands. The only problem is it’s characterized by swiftly changing consumer trends, cultural preferences, and regulatory frameworks. Like it or not, navigating this industry requires a nuanced understanding of its unique challenges.
At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the subtleties inherent to China’s male beauty 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 opening a virtual storefront, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the intricacies of the Chinese business scene.