Chinese obsession with a flawless complexion makes this
a crucial market.
Quality guarantee pays dividend in
Chinese beauty market
Chinese buyer market to become the new reference
point for industry.
Product safety concerns drive sales of imported brands
“Made in China” label fails to enthuse the quality
China will soon become the world's largest economy.
It is a much poorer country than the US, which it will
overtake, but its aggregate purchasing power
(a population of 1.3bn) means that it has now
surpassed US levels. As such it will become the
new reference point in beauty.
China is a huge trading power, it exports more than
the US but imports much less. However, beauty
imports are significant because Chinese consumers
brands. Domestic beauty brands have
suffered badly – either directly or indirectly - from
quality and safety
Lack of confidence is a defining feature of this mega beauty
market. The Chinese hair and skincare industry experts -
we have been interviewing for
more than decade
- report a
widespread lack of trust
A very definite pecking order of brands has
been established by buyers. It is the actual
of manufacture which determines confidence and is the
key factor which consumers use to rank brands.
The “made in China” label does not inspire confidence with
Chinese buyers. Beauty
from all across the
country tell us that suspicion is now so
entrenched that multinational brands manufactured
outside of China
are more trusted than the exact
same brands made in the country.
are very highly
sought after because Chinese buyers attribute
what are regarded as national characteristics to brands.
France, for example, continues to benefit from the historical status of Paris as the global arbiter of culture (especially fashion and beauty).
It is precisely these consumer attitudes which have
contributed to making China one of the largest
world markets for imported luxury skincare. What might
seem like an obsession with prestige brands is, in fact,
quite rational behaviour. The Chinese beauty buyer
is willing to pay a premium for
quality which – for them - means safety.
All the retailers we talk to report that
a proxy for quality for consumers.
What can marketeers do? Chinese beauty retailers and manufacturers which guarantee
product quality and a counterfeit-free supply chain reap
the rewards. For example, the
largest Chinese salon
and spa chains
use exclusive brands and this strategy pays dividends.
These companies are huge players in beauty and are widely
acknowledged as reference points for the industry. We
estimate that the largest chains could, combined, account for
more than a third of
in the megacities of Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The behaviour of the Chinese skincare buyer is fully
explained in our Chinese Skincare Buyer Behaviour/Regimes and Market
. Contact for details