The E-Commerce Cosmetic World is Still Booming in China 

Online sales for cosmetics brands are becoming more and more important and the cosmetics market is one of the most dynamic right now in China. According to a study realized by iResearch, the annual sales for the cosmetics industry reached 25 billion euros annually and 7 billion were done via e-commerce websites. If the e-commerce has an incredible growth in China with a rate of 40% from one year to another and a total number of transaction of €354 billion, it is also the case concerning thecosmetics industry. However, this is a way much more difficult market to penetrate. 

How is the cosmetics market doing in China in 2020?

The cosmetics market in China is still booming with an average of 15% growth per year. This makes it as one of the most promising market full of opportunities, but extremely sensitive to trends. That is the reason why brands must be aware of them and be able to adapt their strategies. One of the main problems for brands nowadays is the fact that a lot of fake products are in circulation on Internet. You can even find in China, copy of major brands Internet websites. And sometimes these fake website have a better position on Baidu (the Chinese search engine) than the real one. 


China currently became the second-largest cosmetics market in the world, lagging behind only the US. The figure of beauty industry growth is on a rise, in an everlasting way, presented in the cosmetics sales amount expected to reach 39 billion USD in 2018 and an incredible beauty per capita expenditure among Chinese women is 300 USD on average a year. Then, brands wanted to enter the Chinese cosmetics market must clearly gain consumer trust.

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Which sectors are booming in the cosmetic industry?

These past few years,economic growth, urban development and the rise of middle and upper class have caused major changes in the Chinese society.Of course, the beauty industry has not been spared by theses deep changes that translated into new ways of purchasing cosmetics. We are talking about online purchases, a key component of any strategy to increase your sales in China these days.


Skincare and makeup are the two main sectors on which a company looking to tap into the Chinese market should focus as the forecast are excellent. Skincare is the most popular category in online beauty market, with more than two-thirds of the market. The next important category involves the make-up products accounting for 20% sales. The beauty best sellers are masks which represent a spending of USD13.6billion per person and face creams which accounting for USD21.7 per customers.

What about the importance of e-commerce for Chinese cosmetics consumers?

Consumers when looking to buy products on Internet are looking to save time and money. Actually it’s much more easier to buy online in China than in the West for example as the delivery (to only mention one point) is much more faster. Chinese consumers are as well very sensitive to prices and they will not hesitate to check products in an offline store and then buy it online if it’s cheaper.

But before buying any types of products they’ll look for information on the Internet. That’s why a brand must be present on social media, forums (very popular in China) and work on its online branding. To gain Chinese consumers trust, brand must increase their brand awareness, control their online image, maintain a good online reputation. If bad comments appear online for a brand it can cause serious damage. And the Internet word of mouth (IWOM) plays a role in the online purchase process.


On which platforms a cosmetic brand can sell its products in China?



A lot of cosmetics brands in China, have an e-shop on Taobao. This website is very famous and was launched by Alibaba in 2003. The navigation is very easy that is what chinese consumers love on this website. They can browse by categorie such as, product effect, skin type, prices and so on…



Unlike Taobao, this platform is only specialized in cosmetics’ sale. Customers trust the brands sold on the site then it’s a good thing to be present on this website. Jumei’s bring to brands visibility. There are a lot of other websites on which a cosmetics brand can sell its products such as Tmall or the cross-borders websites that are becoming more and more popular.


It is always difficult for a foreign brand to have a suitable distributor in China. Distributors in China is always excellent business man who can sell fast and identify sellers but have little knowledge in brand image development or a good communication with customers. They often put their interests in front of yours and drastically fast turning their back to you for a more beneficial one.

JD.COM, one of the leading B2C platforms on China’s giant retail landscape by transaction volume and revenue, sells tens of thousands of brands. JD.COM gets a good reputation from its fast delivery, with great investment in AI and Hi-tech delivery systems through drones. With more than 380 million active users as of March 2020, JD.COM is a strong competitor to Tmall. Together with Tmall, they account for more than 70% of the retail e-commerce market in China.


Chinese website & social media are the key of your success

To sell cosmetics on Chinese online platforms, you must ensure the clarity of your brand message: the Chinese want to have essential information at a glance: product names, brief descriptions and prices. They are also very sensitive to promotions and consumer reviews. Then, you need to do some online communication actions to promote it.


Bilibili ( 哔哩哔哩) is a Chinese video-sharing website based in Shanghai, that is themed around live streaming, video hosting, and mobile gaming. It focuses on anime-related content and video game culture. 90% of its users are under 25, who post, view, and comment on videos in real-time. The real-time feature is known as “bullet chatting” and it facilitates an active community by inducing viewers to participate through the chat and stay engaged.

Little Red Book

You may not heard of it before or taking it as a Chinese version Instagram. But actually it is more powerful in China beauty market. A black horse social media with lots of users favor in beauty and lifestyle. Established four years ago, by adopting unique system in real content generation, a way of word of mouth by users to KOLs to share their experience, soon attract lots of people, especially young white collar people. 


Launched in 2006, YOKA quickly became a must in the qualitative 2.0 Web experience for Fashion and Cosmetics brands and was the first one to do it, when it was usually a customer experience delivered by luxury brands. The Social Media is so successful it employs nearly 400 people and opened an office in Shanghai. The platform is highly active and count more than 7 million users who daily provides tips, advice, reviews or rankings on cosmetics and fashion items.


When it comes to beauty products, Kimiss happens to be the biggest specialized online community on Internet. Since its launching in 2007, the site recorded millions of reviews for more than 2500 brands and over 140,000 beauty products. More than 15 million pages are viewed everyday by 1 million daily active users.


Contact a reliable marketing agency in China! We can help you.

To successfully get a place in the e-commerce cosmetics in China you need to be careful about your e-reputation and gain customers’ trust. In order to do it well we highly recommend you to use the Chinese social media such as Weibo and WeChat and promote your brand on the Chinese forums. To establish a 360° digital marketing strategy for your brand in China, contact our experts! They are passionate and have more than 7 years of experience in China. 

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