In the last few years, many sectors knew an important evolution in China. This evolution was possible thanks to the increase in living standards of Chinese consumers. People are earning more money than they can spend. The perfume sector is evolving. Thanks to fashion and cosmetics. Indeed, compared with the cosmetics sector, the perfume market has less significant progress. However, this branch is not very developed. According to Statista, revenue in the Fragrances segment amounts to US$1,168m in 2020. It is expected to grow annually by 7.0% (CAGR 2020-2023). The main element that makes this industry work is the rising consumption capacity in China.
Perfume Used to Be a Usual Product in China
Before the Cultural Revolution, in traditional Chinese medicine, perfume was widely used. But after this period it was seen as something indecent. Consequently, Chinese people were not very used to buying perfume.
Moreover, Perfumery products stayed quite limited because of big players such as Dior, Chanel, Burberry. As a matter of fact, people who bought perfume preferred to purchase big brands because they were able to identify. In addition, we can notice that the choice to wear fragrances is much influenced by advertisements, magazines, or related advice.
Changes in Chinese attitude towards perfume in modern society
Because people are traveling, several factors can explain the evolution of this industry. First of all, the luxury industry grew tremendously during these last years. Chinese consumers are traveling abroad especially the middle class. So they tend to buy more perfume in order to give them as a gift and not to wear it themselves. This is one of the reasons that explain why the bottle is very important.
Nonetheless, we can notice a growing number of people that buy fragrances for themselves, in other words, for their own use. Actually, Chinese people care about their personal image and this makes an interesting opportunity. The increase in income can serve as an explanation for the rising demand for this category of consumption.
What famous perfume brands do in China to Be Successful?
Some niche brands use innovative ways to attract Chinese consumers. For example, the French perfumer Diptyque decided to link ice cream flavors with fragrance in-store events. The British brand Jo Malone London did a partnership with hotels in order to do afternoon teas.
There are so many ways to enter the Chinese perfume market, and especially don’t forget how important product localization is in the Chinese market.
Challenges for foreign perfume brands in China
If you want to succeed in the fragrance industry in China, you need to adapt your product in order to meet the needs of Chinese customers. Using perfume is a way to express themselves for some consumers. This means that they are still getting used to it. They want something powerful but not too strong. Even though people use more fragrances than before, they still need time to learn more about fragrances, how to use them, and consider them as something that is enshrined in their daily life. It will take time to be a strong habit.
In addition, the market has been dominated by big players for a long time such as Chanel, LVMH, Coty, Procter & Gamble. L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Mary Kay, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Avon represent 48,8% of China’s entire perfume market. These big brands have a strong presence online and offline. They put a lot of money in an advertisement on the press, the TV, and on the internet. Some luxury famous perfume brand house is famous because their branding insists on their position as a premium brand.
Another issue that faces this industry is the retail point. Indeed, on the contrary to European countries, retail points are not very developed to promote a deep knowledge of Chinese around the product. Sales are generally made by specialized resellers and Chinese consumers believe more in these retailers. Consequently, integrating the fragrance market is not easy.
Strategy to Adopt in China
In order to enter the market, product localization is a must. The Chinese people have different habits and different cultures, so best-seller products are those adapted to the market.
You need to educate your consumers and show them the interest to buy the products of your brand. You have to manage your brand community in order to reach the younger generation as Chinese social media has an important role in Chinese social lives. In this way, you can enshrine the habit in the long term and develop your brand. It will guarantee penetration for your brand in the Chinese market. This “education” goes with an effective digital strategy in order to have maximum exposure.
Because Chinese consumers are not yet really used to buying perfume for themselves you have to insert in your campaign an educating aspect. Then you have to think about how to use a perfume, the experience they could have by buying your products and the exploration of senses.
On the last point, you have to work hard on your branding strategy. The value you will choose to put behind your brand is really important. You have to make a difference with the others.
Strong Branding works well in China
The digital sphere in China is very important. E-commerce is very developed. That is the reason why you have to create an efficient website in which consumers can easily find prices, discounts, and products presentations on the first page. It is really essential to have qualitative content and HD pictures to show your fragrances. Your website has to focus and explain the experience.
Moreover, your website should be in Chinese of course, but in simplified Chinese, as it is the one people use in China mainland. Besides, your website has to be hosted in China or nearby so the content will be loaded quickly for a better user experience.
Effective SEO in Chinese digital marketing
SEO & SEM are powerful for your brand awareness and the brand recognition is essential for your entry in the Chinese market because Chinese consumer is very suspicious about unknown brands. Baidu is the most used search engine in China because Google is blocked by the Chinese Great Firewall. This is why it is important to put backlinks and maybe some money for advertisements.
Baidu occupies around 70% of the total market share, so if you want to do SEO & SEM in China, it is your first choice. But there are still other search engines that you can use, such as Sogou, 360, etc.
Chinese Social Networks and KOLs: key to your perfume branding
Weibo and WeChat are cornerstones in your digital strategy. They are the tools you have to use to build your e-reputation because they offer you the possibility to exchange with consumers and to know what people think about you.
Therefore, you can use KOLs to promote your brand. They represent a good way to attract lead generation thanks to their followers. However, it is necessary to choose them well because they must fit with your brand image and pay attention to the data they announced because the data can be fake.
GMA, with its expertise, can help you to realize your project in China. If you want to utilize Chinese digital channels to work on your brand awareness and brand credibility, as an expert in Chinese digital marketing, we are at your service.
Feel free to contact us for 30 minutes of free consulting service.