The Chinese cosmetics market has grown around 13% each year since 2001. Today it is the third largest market worldwide and is worth $26 billion a year. The future is also bright for the market since according to Euromonitor data it is expected to grow 8% each year until 2017. The cosmetics market in China is dominated by foreign brands which control 80% of the market.
French cosmetics brands are doing very well on the Chinese cosmetics market and here are the main factors of their success:
France is said to be a romantic country where Chinese tourists like to travel. The country has attracted 1.2 million Chinese tourists in 2013 according to the French ministry of tourism.
In China, it is seen as the country of chic and elegance thanks to their luxurious fashion and cosmetics brands. Buying French cosmetics gives face to the Chinese customers thanks to the price and the good image that the French brands benefit in China.
French brands in China have a key advantage on which they can play: the quality. France is known worldwide for the quality of the goods it manufactures. In China it is not rare to see the “Made in France” label put forward on products. Chinese customers want to be able trust the quality of the products they buy.
Especially since the counterfeit scandals have multiplied in China during the past few years. Even the leading Chinese online cosmetics seller Jumei had to face a fake goods issue that were being sold under a third-party store on the website in July this year. So that Chinese buyers of cosmetics are reassured by the fact that buying French cosmetics is buying safe products.
French brands also adapt their product to the Chinese cosmetics buyers. Knowing that Chinese women prefer products that help to whiten the skin, they included ingredients to do so in their products. Most of the packaging and product sizes have also been revised to appeal the Chinese customer. Some French brands also choose to partner with a local firm to better adapt the market.
The leading French cosmetic brand L’Oreal recently acquired Magic Holdings International, a Chinese company which has 288 distributors. L’Oreal will benefit from this acquisition by having a better distribution and a Chinese point of view to promote the brand.
French brands also understood the need of a strong presence on the Chinese internet. There are indeed 618 million netizens in China and 90% of them use social networks. Chinese customers are used to search information online before buying a product. The first source information that they consider reliable is the social networks.
Clarins already has more than 50.000 followers on Weibo
French brands therefore decided to be very active on Weibo and WeChat the two leaders of the sector. Most of the well-known French cosmetics brands such as Clarins, Yves Rocher, L’Occitane and Vichy have their own official accounts on these networks. They like to post about the brand history, or videos, photos, care techniques. They also use the social networks to make announcements of promotions and activities or to answer the questions of the customers.
Choosing the right canal of distribution is essential for a cosmetic brand in China. French brands cosmetic brands like Clarins, Yves Rocher, L’Occitane or Vichy are present in physical shops. Most of the time, they chose establish their own sores, and have corners in department stores. Vichy even used to be sold only in drugstores but decided to sell in department stores too in 2013.Practically all of the brands use their official website as their own e-commerce platform, they also opened their shop on Tmall, the giant B2C platform in China. Some of the brands also have a shop on Jumei, an platform specialized in upscale cosmetics.
Yves Rocher’s Tmall shop
French cosmetics brands are appealing to Chinese cosmetcis buyers beacause they represent the French elegance and chic. French cosmetics are also a choice of safety guaranteed by the “Made in France” tradition of quality. French brands succeed in the Chinese cosmetics market because of the image of their country but also because they understood the importance of adapting their products to the local market, of digital marketing and of distribution that are essential to be successful in China. To go further
:EuromonitorFavorite cosmetics brands of Chinese womenOur Services