How to Enter the Chinese Shampoo Market?

China’s evolution over the years is incredible not only in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of living conditions. The Chinese middle-class is growing faster than ever while lower-tier cities are booming in terms of industrialization. China has become a potential market to conquer for every companies that want to increase their sales and attract a wide audience. During the past few years, one of the most promising industry was the hair care one, and especially shampoo products. Though becoming more saturated in terms of penetration, the hair care industry was able to maintain a steady growth. As a promising industry, hair care products are at the core of a tough competition between many companies. So, if you want to enter the Chinese shampoo market, you might be interested by the following tips and advice we are going to give you in this article.

Hair Care products in China: A growing Industry

As the world’s second-largest cosmetics market after the United States in terms of revenue and consumption value, China is also one of the fastest growing and most promising markets in the world in terms of hair care products. Resulting from urbanization, growing disposable income, and social media influence, the hair care industry is facing a burgeoning demand for higher quality, premium, and high-end brand products. While hair care products (after-shampoo, hair masks, hairspray, etc.) were most of the time perceived as unnecessary by the majority of the Chinese population during a long period of time, their behaviors started to change over the years. According to a the research firm Mintel, the hair care market is expected to reach 53.6 billion yuan by the end of 2021.

In 2018, shampoo online sales accounted for 46.5% of the total online hair care product sales in China. Shampoo was the principle category followed by hair treatment sets, which accounted for around a third of the total of sales that year. In terms of revenues, online sales of hair shampoo and hair products reached more than 11.75 billion yuan in China. On another hand, the most popular hair care companies in China are Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Avon, Kao, L’Oréal and Henkel, Pantene, Rejoice and Head & Shoulders.

There are several drivers that play an essential part in this development: growing demand for men’s hair care products, which steadily increase marketing across online platforms, and the ambition for brands to attract more customers who are willing to pay more for higher-quality products.

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The Shampoo Industry in China

The shampoo industry in China represents a huge opportunity for foreign brands to expand their activities in one the most promising market in the world. Many foreign brands have already been able to enter the Chinese market, such as the P&G group (Head & Shoulders, Rejoice, Pantene) and Unilever (Lux, Hazeline) grabbing over 75% of the Chinese shampoo market. However, international brands are not the only one trying to break into the Chinese market.

It is also worth mentioning that the beauty and hair care industry for Men has grown significantly these past few years, as Chinese men are putting much more importance on their appearance.

In 2017, China’s shampoo market value amounted to approximately 31.3 billion yuan, an increase compared to the 30.6 billion yuan in the previous year.

However, entering the Chinese shampoo market is not an easy task. You have to take into account that Chinese are extremely cautious when it comes to choose hygienic products. Indeed, according to a research published by Mintel, 81% of urban Chinese consumers say they prefer to buy all-natural hair care products, while 10% are considering the presence of natural ingredients as the key factor for purchasing products. Moreover, while consumers’ top hair concerns are still the same as before (anti-dandruff for example) there is a growing focus on caring for hair and added benefits, such as long-lasting fragrance. So, if your shampoo have these benefits, you might be able to attract Chinese consumers.

Opportunities in China’s shampoo market

The Chinese population is affected by some specific hair issues, such as premature baldness and hair loss. According to the China Association of Health Promotion and Education, approximately 250 million Chinese people suffer from premature baldness, which can be a potential market to conquer if you want to sell your treatment shampoo. However, you will have to be careful when it comes to the composition of your shampoo.

How to sell your shampoo in China

As one of the fastest growing market in the world, China is also one of the most competitive. Thus, you have to be prepared to face more competition than anywhere else in the world. The shampoo sector is already dominated by hair care giants which benefits from global awareness and international popularity. So, you are now probably wondering what is the best way to sell your shampoo in China? In fact, the choice of the channel of distribution will mostly depend on your budget, but also according to your marketing strategies.

• Mass distribution

To be honest, the shampoo market in mass distribution is already saturated as many international brand have already been in the Chinese market for years. You will also have to compete with Chinese brands which are already known among consumers, and probably less expensive. However, if you really want to sell your shampoo via mass distribution, you will first need to build an online presence on the internet and on social media in order to convince people to buy your shampoo. So, mass distribution is probably not the best idea if you want to start your shampoo business in China.

• E-commerce platforms

As you probably already know, China is the most digitalized market in the world with over 900 million people connected to the Internet. They are not only connected but highly engaged online. On average, they spend 6 hours per day on their phone. One of the major key of China’s digitalization is that Chinese consumers are now looking on search engines in order to have more informations about the product and the brand, and then purchase online. In a word, they do everything online. So, if you want to expand your activities and sell you shampoo in China, must take advantage of e-commerce platforms to grow your visibility and sales in China.

Online sales for shampoo products have been in a constant growth these last few years, reaching 13.5 million yuan in 2019.

Alibaba

Founded in 1999, Alibaba is probably one of the most popular e-commerce platform in China. If you want to sell your shampoo in China, you can sell it on Alibaba. However be careful to advertize your products on social media beforehand.

TMall

Tmall is an open business-to-consumer (B2C) platform enabling businesses world-wide to reach China’s vast and growing consumer market. However be careful, selling products on TMall requires a long procedure and a verified business account in order to be able to display your products on their website. You can contact us for more information.

Taobao

Taobao is like TMall, but the procedure to sell your products on Taobao can be considered easier and more convenient.

Pinduoduo

Pinduoduo is an e-commerce platform that offers a wide range of products from daily groceries to home appliances. Consumers are able to buy products at a lower cost. So, if you want to sell your shampoo on Pinduoduo, the price will be considered as a key factor for your sales.

• On your Chinese website

Having a Chinese website is mandatory if you want to enter the Chinese market. Of course, you will be able to attract much more Chinese consumers than having a website in English. Having a Chinese website is also necessary if you want to appear on search engines like Baidu.

Advertising your shampoo in China

Chinese consumers are more likely to show their interest and opinion on social media than ever. Thus, it is important for you to pay attention to your e-reputation in order to keep and attract new consumers. You will have to be careful when it comes to the quality and price of your shampoo, but also when it comes to your consumers’ opinions and thoughts. You can contact us if you want more information on how to manage your e-reputation in China.

Chinese singer Luhan (鹿晗) for Head and Shoulders

If you want to sell your shampoo in China, you have to know that it will be necessary to do advertising in order to increase your visibility. For example, you can see on this ad the famous singer Luhan (鹿晗). The purpose of Head & Shoulders was to draw the younger generation’s attention, rejuvenating their image and driving sales at the same time. In fact for Chinese consumers, marketing or advertising content quality is an important decision factor when shopping for health and hygiene products. However, advertising in China might be a little bit different than advertising in western countries. Chinese people are using social media for everything, so you will have to adapt to the Chinese market when doing advertising. We are going to give here some tips and advice to advertise your shampoo in China.

• Baidu

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China. Considered as the Chinese Google, it is indeed different in many aspects. The majority of the population is checking for information about the product and the brand on Baidu, so you will have to focus on your SEO on Baidu and advertise on it if possible.

• Wechat

As you probably already know, Wechat is mandatory for Chinese people who can send messages, post content, pay, etc. However, Wechat is also a wonderful tool for brands to advertize their company and their products. If you use Wechat, you will be able to create a business account (you can contact us for more information) and then be able to create an H5 brochure to promote your brand for example.

• Douyin

As the most popular short-platform video in China, Douyin is a wonderful social media if you want to advertize your products and attract a lot of Chinese consumers. However, publishing on Douyin does not mean that it will increase your visibility. You will have to be creative in order to stand out among your competitors.

• Zhihu

Zhihu is the most popular Q&A platform in China so you can focus on Zhihu to see their opinion about their preference in terms of shampoo for example. Q&A platforms are indeed very popular and appreciated among Chinese consumers, who most of the time are likely to buy products based on the recommandation of their friends.

Our services

GMA is a Digital Marketing Agency that analyzes the needs that will drive the implementation of your business model. We execute digital strategies and provide market surveys for your business in order to give you the best of the Chinese market. Our experience as an international marketing agency has allowed us to develop our strategies. Proud of the success of the companies we have accompanied throughout the process of exporting their products in China, we will be happy to answer any of your questions and talk about your projects.

You can also find some case studies about the companies we have been working with:

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