An anti-age cream worth more than having a brand new Louis Vuitton bag? A rather unsettling question for some people, but not for the new generation of Chinese women where the only answer is yes.
Chinese desperate need for anti-aging solutions
The fear of getting older is becoming a real obsession for chinese people. According to a report of the british health care company, BUPA, which asked 12,262 people in 12 countries about their attitudes toward aging, people in China are among the most fearful of getting old.
Not by chance, the anti-aging market in China reached 48 billion US$ in 2019, with a year-on-year increase of 6%. And despite the ageing population, millennials are becoming the main consumer group.
Young Chinese: the main consumers of anti-aging cream
China is becoming the largest consumer of anti-aging creams, especially among the youngest, who spend about 20/40 percent of their annual salary in luxury cosmetics.
One of these is Fan Fan, twenty-five years old and manager of HR, who tells that for her first anti-aging purchase, the Advanced Night Repair serum from Estee Lauder, spent half of her 4,000 RMB salary. The fan is aware that it’s quite expensive, but she also believes that prevention is better than cure. “The earlier you start taking care of your skin, the less worried you will be when you grow old,” she said. “I’m in this for the long haul.“
China swims against the tide in the anti-aging cream market
It seems that for a young Chinese woman using anti-aging cream isn’t just a simple skin routine, but a real investment. So much so that if in the Western world, according to Mintel, sales have dropped from $ 2.2 billion to 1.9 billion dollars in just 5 years, Chinese consumption instead keeps growing.
Anti-aging cream larger consumers are less than 30 years old women in China
Those who overturned the statistics were women between 20 and 29 years, who spent 2.6 times more than the previous year. They spent more even compared to the mature women with a greater economic availability who instead believe less to the miracles of the anti-age creams.
The data, collected by Kantar, shows how the very young spend less on luxury bags otherwise are more inclined in serums and creams business of important brands like Estee Lauder and SK-II, just to name a few.
China drives the growth of Estée Lauder
2020 has been a particular year for all companies, especially for the cosmetics Giant Estée Lauder, whose future seems to belong more and more to China.
The owner of La Mer, Tom Ford Beauty, MAC, and the South Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+, saw a general crisis during the last year, but it also has a gradual recovery from COVID-19 primarily due to China, which has become Estée Lauder’s third-largest online market.
E-commerce in China: the main ingredient for success!
Growth in China is mainly due to the online market, that made up over 40 percent of Estée Lauder’s sales for the fiscal year. The company distributes through Tmall, a Chinese online retail (B2C). The same platform was the intermediary for the most luxurious line of Estee Lauder, LaMer, that could reach those cities where there’s no physical store.
“The main purpose of selling on Tmall is to discover an interactive approach to speak to young consumers,” Estée Lauder’s head of e-commerce.
Reach Anti-aging cream consumer with KOL
Another strong point for the sharp growth in the sale of cosmetics? The use of brand ambassadors who have approached the young millennials all over China.
The SK-II brand has boosted its sales through Dou Jingdong, in fact with its unconventional look, the post-90s singer has gathered acclaim and convinced young people to employ their money in a special facial treatment.
A winning strategy given by the fact that among the millennial co-exist a double soul; they try to be out of the box, see JD’s eclectic and influential look, but at the same time they still believe in some past concepts, as evidenced by the use of anti-aging creams since young age to never get old and always look young.
How can you sell Anti-Aging cream in China?
Companies need to know which strategy is the most appropriate, which platforms can give best results in order to reach their target persona. Two essential points to follow for saling China are BRANDING and DISTRIBUTION.
Sometimes it is difficult to find quality distributors when you do not yet have a high profile and high visibility.
For Anti-aging Skincare Branding is key
In China, branding is of paramount importance and this is what will determine whether consumers will buy the product or not. The solution for having a better brand image is present online. The reputation develops gradually, it is necessary to have a Chinese site available on Baidu and to share contents in forums like Baidu Search, Zhihu and Baidu Tieba.
Important points for a successful branding campaign
Having a Chinese website is the base. With not website your cosmetic brand won’t look legit but also with no website how do you do SEO on Baidu or Paid ads? you need landing pages.
SEO on Baidu:
Second step, you have to appear on the first page of Baidu if you want to be visible in China. They research brandS and products on Baidu. This is where they will make their mind on wether or not your brand is reliable.
Build a strong brand awareness online with ORM (Online Reputation Management. ORM is the art of having only what you want to be visible showing up in the search results.
PR and Forums:
PR & Forums are incredible to improve your e-reputation. They are ORM tools. With PR, you have reference of your market talking about you. Forums, are a great tools for organic talks and credibility. Having your products discussed on forums by pevious consumers will help your brand win the trust of a larger audiance. PR and Forums tends to rank quite high on Baidu, it is therefore a good tools to get more organic qualified traffic to your landing page.
Kols and influencers are not to be ignore. The trend in 2020 that will keep growing in 2021 is the use “Micro-Kols”. Kols and influencers can help you strengthen your e-reputation. Cosmetics Kols (be careful not all) are often seen as experts in this field. The engagement and trust from their followers is high and assiciating your name to them can be beneficial.
We would not suggest going for Kols strategy only if your brand is unheard of in China. Kols Marketing comes as a wonderfull complement of a more global effort. Basically, if poeples hear of you trough Kols but then can’t find anything on Baidu, you won’t get any sales.
Chinese E-commerce Platforms:
If you want to sell in China, you have to integrate the Chinese E-commerce platforms. The Chinese customers are frequently online, they buy everything online. The most e-commerce platform in China are Tmall, JD.Com, Taobao, Little Red Book …
Just like for Kols marketing, eCommerce should not be the only steps of your brand journey in China. You may get visitors, if they can’t get anything on your brand on internet, they won’t buy and your conversion rate is going to be abyssmal.
Chinese people and their smartphone is a long story. They are always present on Social media such as Wechat, Weibo… Wechat with its over 1 billion active users is the most popular Chinese social network. Following by Weibo with nearly 650 million active users.
Social media should be part of your marketing strategy in China from the beginning (just like Baidu SEO). Creating official accounts on chinese social media and promoting those accounts is necessary to build brand awareness and create engagement with your target audiance.
Branding your anti-aging cream brand will unable Distribution
Not only branding will help you connect with your target audiance and build your brand a name in the chinese cosmetic market but also will help you get deals with chinese distributors. Chinese distributors are just like chinese consumers. They are looking for winners, for brands that already exist in China and that are legit. Why? Because dsitributors know very well are Chinese consumers are difficult and they don’t wanna take any risk when choosing brand to distributes especially when they rececive dozen of offers like yours per week.
TLDR: Chinese distributors are not marketer and will (almost) always go for already known brands that they can make quick money with and will little to no risk.
There is a different way to work with distributors in China:
- Local Distributo: If you market your brand efficiently has explained above, go for it. If you just plan to mass mail your PDF listing.. good luck.
- Tmall B2D, Kaoloa and others distributions like ecommerce service: Great tools, but just like for Local distributors, you’ll need a strong marketing effort as those platforms can have high requirements.
Do you want to know if your products or brand is suitable for the Chinese market and how it works? GMA, an expert in Chinese digital marketing and foreign business in China, can give you the answer and help you to win the market.
With more than 8 years of successful experience, we are capable to promote your brand reputation in the Chinese society. Our team, made up of Chinese and Western marketing specialists can work out a cost-efficient strategy to boost your sales in China.
Feel free to contact us if you want to develop a market for your product or service in China.