In China, air pollution is a societal concern. Since 2000, air pollution is the cause of the anticipated death of 30 million people in mainland China and Taiwan. The impact on health, respiration, and skin is tremendous. Every consumer group is paying more attention to their health in China. Food and beverages that focus on health will maintain high growth in 2021. Cosmetics and skincare products against pollution will seduce more and more Chinese women in 2021. If you are a beauty brand, you should definitely stay up-to-date with this key opportunity!
The Expansion of Anti Pollution Beauty Market
Covid-19 Accelerated the Rise of a Healthy Lifestyle in China
In China, the global pandemic has a meaningful interpretation. Many Chinese saw the Covid-19 as a sign from Mother Nature to stay in line. This massive change impacted the daily life of the Chinese as they decided to better look after their health and the environment. Especially the Millennials and Gen Z are more open-minded and more environmentally conscious. They will think about the impact of their purchase on the planet and their own health.
Chinese customers have become aware of the disastrous effects of pollution on health and are looking for solutions. The healthy lifestyle meets more and more followers, enrolled in the gym, and very attentive to a balanced diet. A healthy lifestyle does not prevent the skin from being attacked by fine particles.
Chinese are Suspicious About Cosmetics Composition
Chinese consumers are very suspicious about the composition of cosmetics. For the majority of Chinese beauty lovers, the main criteria that motivate their purchase are both the benefits and the ingredients. In a word, the brand is not a key argument for them to purchase. They will look for information and product reviews online to be sure a product has a clean composition and great benefits for the skin. Why? Because sanitary scandals are unfortunately the weight of life in China. The Chinese are used to fight against fake or counterfeit products. So, they have to be particularly meticulous when they purchase a new product.
This is the reason why Lu Ming Tang makes a point of honor to play the card of transparency on its ingredients. Bleaching agents, paraben, and gluten are banned. The brand claims the effectiveness of its products for the skin and the absence of harmful components, which allows it to expand its clientele to the most demanding.
Lu Ming Tang Case Study: The Success of a Healthy Cosmetics Brand in China
Lu Ming Tang is a brand of natural cosmetics that differs from other brands established in China with its speech against pollution. It is indeed the only cosmetics brand to claim its commitment against major Chinese cities’ air pollution by caring for one’s skin with high-end products specifically developed. Between its digital strategies and its innovative offer, return on the success of this start-up.
A Brand Surfing on the Healthy Trend
Following heavy metal poisoning, the French founder Marie Amiand has devised a range of cosmetics to meet the needs of city dwellers’ skin, daily confronted with the pollution of big cities. Lu Ming Tang is a brand that advocates the use of natural products to heal and protect the skin.
Its cosmetics are up to 90% natural ingredients. The main components include black sesame seeds, soy milk, oats, and rose. It is a total of more than fifty ingredients inspired by Superfood and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The renowned ingredient of the brand is tea. This ingredient is known for its detoxifying and antioxidant properties. It is associated with a scientific innovation called the bio-remedy complex which makes it possible to fight against the effects of pollution on the skin. The skincare products of Lu Ming Tang both fight against the pollution’s effects and revive the radiance of the skin’s epidermis.
High-end Investments Gain the Trust of Chinese Consumers
The brand has partnered exclusively with the distributor Sephora, which allows gaining visibility in the Chinese market while gaining the confidence of consumers. Shangri-La Hotel Hangzhou also hosts one of its shops, a partnership of choice for any new brand aimed at a high-end receptive clientele.
The products are formulated in Japanese laboratories recognized for their rigor in quality controls, before being manufactured in China. Using natural products such as tea while partnering with renowned laboratories for the severity of their quality tests allows Lu Ming Tang to seduce both skeptics and fans of natural solutions.
Positioning itself as a niche brand among high-end cosmetics allows Chinese consumers to no longer have to choose between a luxury or natural products: Lu Ming Tang is a perfect compromise. The packaging retains a very French refinement while highlighting the simplicity of the ingredients. Another advantage: Lu Ming Tang cosmetics further strengthen the customer’s skincare routine rather than requiring them to completely replace their products, which are often reluctant to purchase.
A Chinese Brand for a Chinese Clientele
Lu Ming Tang is primarily for Chinese customers. Currently, 80% of its clientele is actually local. The main shop or flagship store of the brand is located in the French concession of Shanghai. It is a great location to seduce Chinese clientele but also to attract an expatriate clientele.
If its French Touch allows it to give credibility to its brand image in the luxury sector, this is not his only asset. Lu Ming Tang claims to be a fusion brand that celebrates the best of Chinese and Western culture. Its quality products come from China and the components (tea and bamboo first) are therefore grown in China. This national high-end production still stands out from the so-called mediocre national production which taints the reputation of the country outside the border. The brand can therefore bet on the national pride of Chinese consumers.
How to Promote your Healthy Cosmetics Brand in China?
#1 Be active on social networks
To reach Chinese customers, the passage through Chinese social networks is unavoidable. Lu Ming Tang has an official WeChat account on which the consumers can subscribe. It is a key social media to engage more easily with its current and potential customers. Lu Ming Tang uses WeChat to share newsletters, have talks with its followers, and tell the dates of its next workshops. All the communication of the brand is based on a tight relationship with its clientele. Chinese people feel close to the brand.
If you enter the Chinese market, WeChat is a must-have. There are 1.2 billion monthly active users on WeChat. Every Chinese has a WeChat account to talk with his friends, follow brands, purchase train tickets, or pay. For cosmetics brands, it is an essential tool to build your existence on the Chinese market and increase engagement with your followers. You can share newsletters, brochures, moments, and participate in private groups. Especially for healthy brands and clean beauty, private groups are a key strategy to create your “expert image” and share beauty advice.
#2 Partner with KOLs and KOCs to promote the brand
To make its products known, Lu Ming Tang chose the most effective digital strategy of the moment: Key Opinion Leaders. These young women are small-scale celebrities who have a large audience of followers. So, the KOL write articles on Wechat where they describe their experience of a new cosmetic product or post tutorials on Youku and Weibo. On each post, they are massively followed and their popularity gives a lot of credit to the brand. The followers feel more easily encouraged to test a product that they have first staged.
The visibility and recognition of the brand are also coming from KOCs endorsement. On Xiaohonghsu, the Chinese Instagram, several common users or Key Opinion Consumers are promoting the products of the brands. They are followed by a smaller audience but who engage more easily and purchase faster. Xiaohongshu is a great social media to go with if you want a great return on investment (ROI) with a small initial investment. On the app, 80% are women and they are looking for new fashion or cosmetics items to purchase.
#3 Understand the expectations of Chinese consumers
The first concern of Chinese women is the aging of their skin. They are obsessed with the first wrinkles and buy early anti-aging solutions. Compared to the West, old ladies are not the main consumer segment of anti-aging cream but rather women between 25 and 35 years old. In addition, many still consider white skin as an aesthetic ideal and do not hesitate to use the whitening of the skin to achieve it. Faced with this demand, luxury cosmetics systematically add whitening agents in their creams and masks sold on the Chinese market, without necessarily changing the ingredients label.
Lu Ming Tang products bring again a different message: cosmetics are not intended to lighten skin tone with whitening solutions, but to restore radiance to the complexion for a healthy skin result.
The workshops and tutorials of DYI or “Do It Yourself” for beauty care are the true cosmetic trend of the moment in major cities of China. Lu Ming Tang understands this and offers fun workshops to learn how to make your own natural cosmetics. Also, they propose educational workshops where you learn the right actions to adopt against pollution and nutritional advice. Since a healthy lifestyle reinforces the action of cosmetics, the brand advocates the link between healthy food and beautiful skin. And Chinese consumers recognize it.
#4 Select your best local partner
When you are not based in China, you can feel the distance and the separation. Due to the Great Firewall, China is a very complex ecosystem. All the social media are different, the types of influencers are various, and the trends are evolving fast. You need to find a reliable partner based in China to help you evolve and navigate into the most profitable market in the world. It is essential to understand each social media and know the best way to approach influencers.
We are the Gentlemen Marketing Agency, a marketing agency specialized in digital solutions. We help big companies to perform in China and small brands to grow their business in China. Since 2012, we have worked on +1,000 projects with brands in +50 countries. If you need advice on your next project in China, you can contact us!