Thanks to the country’s increasing per capita income, Chinese standards of living are getting higher and so is their purchase power. Men are also being more open on using cosmetics products, often encouraged by the woman in their lives. That is why China is now the third-biggest cosmetics market in the world, worth $26 billion a year. According to Euromonitor, the market is expected to grow 8% each year from now to 2017.
Cosmetics’ Market overview
In the Chinese cosmetics market, Domestic manufacturers account for less than 20%, leaving the other 80% of the market to foreign-invested enterprises and joint ventures. Chinese consumers especially like French and American brand. The French company L’Oréal commands for example, an 11% share of Chinese market. Skin care products are representing the fastest growing sector in the cosmetics market.
This market has seen a lot of changes in its consumer’s behaviors. Consumer now considers various factors before picking the products that most suit their needs instead of just being influenced by advertisement or promotional campaigns.
More information on the Market here
Reputation is “So Important”
The first factor they will take a look at is the reputation. Indeed, last year the China Consumers’ Association received 4,085 complaints involving quality problems on cosmetics products. These kinds of complaints made the consumers become more aware of the market’s safety issues. So that before buying a product, whether it is online or offline, they gather information on their own. In order to make sure of the authenticity and safety of the products they will buy, especially online.
It is therefore essential for domestic and foreign cosmetics brands to earn the trust of Chinese cosmetics consumers by creating a good Brand Image. A brand awareness campaign will help acquire a good brand image: by using blogging platforms like Sina Weibo accounts and use them to post multimedia contents like photos and videos.
In 2014 the number of Internet Users in China reached 618 million and among them 90% have an account on at least one social network. These platforms are an endless source of information for cosmetics consumers, where they like to read feedback of previous customers or reviews of the products made by bloggers. Being present and interacting on Chinese Social Media platforms like Weibo and Wechat is the key to create a dialogue with Chinese consumers. To show them that they can trust your cosmetics brands.
Another popular technique is for the brands to deal with Influential artistes or Key Opinion Leaders to “soft-sell” their products by recommending said products in their Weibo or Wechat accounts.
Chinese consumers also find information on the popular online stores specialized in cosmetics like Lefung.com, Jumei.com and Tiantian.com. These e-commerce websites hold 25% of the whole cosmetics market. Indeed, e-commerce has widen the possibilities of cosmetics consumers, they have more choices, products are available from anywhere, and especially to consumers in lower-tier cities, where there might not be retail locations.
A great part of the reputation is made on the Chinese Web. Where cosmetics consumers are looking for most of the information they want to know on the product they are interested in buying. The Internet Word of mouth is the key to earn the trust of Chinese consumers.
And of course: Price and packaging
However, despite the growing market share held by the e-commerce, retail stores still have their role to play because Chinese consumers really like to try the products. For both online and offline stores, good prices is the most important factor for Chinese consumers. Discount are really popular when applied to both kind of stores. And last but not least, a nice packaging that appeals Chinese consumers will also guarantee sales to cosmetics brands in China.
In conclusion we can say that the factors that are most likely to affect Chinese buyers on their buying process are:
Products that answer the needs of Chinese consumers, The Reputation of the brand, Positive feedback of the products, the Brand Awareness, the Brand Image, Discount prices, Nice Packaging, Word of mouth, the possibility to try out the products, multimedia communication based on photo and video.
To stay ahead of the competiton, foreign cosmetics brands will have to stay aware of local tastes, innovate to meet them, form relationships with their customers through social media and be able to adapt rapidly in the fast- paced growing Chinese cosmetics market.