Why Cosmetics brands have to adapt their strategy in China

Why Cosmetics brands have to adapt their strategy in China

Cosmetics’ brand must adapt their strategy to China


The unique characters of Chinese market require western brands to adapt themselves to the local market, thus the brands of beauty products must understand the needs of their clients, and adapt their marketing (product) strategy accordingly.



The brand of beauty products can’t get a global strategy to answer the needs and specifications of Chinese target market.

There is, you know that, a gap between Asia and Occident, the huge cultural differences which change the communication way, and the following product pay for that, because in China, the standards of beauty are different.

Though, brands have (for the most part), unique products that they have to adapt to the specificities of the different markets like the Middle Empire. It’s a big challenge, so a brand has to think globally but to act locally.


The emerging markets boost direct sales

Growth in cosmetic is amazing in the emerging market, and most oriented to the rural populations which are discovering the basic cosmetic products and this is stimulating the sales.

Supermarkets have considerably increased the showing zone for beauty products and have created a more luxury environment. Shops representing cosmetics brand are growing more and more in shopping centers in China and the online sales shoot up with a growth around 30% (mainly focus on lower-end products)


Distribution in China

In China, growth is often linked to the increasing number of sales, department store, specialized distribution or small specialized shops.

Distribution remains the main problem of occidental companies:

  • The entrance to distribution channels are too difficult
  • The specialized shops of province have the disadvantage in terms of counterfeit
  • To obtain a location in a shopping center is a challenge today
  • Sale on the Internet is nowadays positioned on low-end products

China is a consumption market of brands and low-cost products. Small manufacturers of cosmetic products do not have the upstream integration ability, so they have to face up with difficulties for being known and distribute their products.


Consumption trends

East Asia area represents the major part of the beauty products consumption in the world with more than 50% of market share (volume). In China, the market has been keeping a two-digit growth since many years ago. This dynamic is stronger in the secondary cities of the country.



This Chart shows the increase of cosmetics (in purpul) and the total retailing(in Black)

Chart presented the sales curve in cosmetic and beauty products since 2005.

Another tip to notice is the high percentage of cosmetics consumption in metropolis, Shanghai represent 12% of the retail sales in cosmetic, Beijing (11%), Jiangsu province (9%), Canton region (9%).

Products of hair coloration also appears as an important development (12% in 2011)

The face care range stays some important products in China and keeps having a progression of 7% (in 2011)


Today, consumption increase in both low-end and high-end market. Sales of local products, with low price, shoot up, just like “luxurious” brands with a commercial power such as Estée Lauder, Lancôme, and Shiseido. The most famous brands in the country are L’Oreal, Lancome, Maybelline, Yuesai (bought par L’Oreal), Olay, Avon,  Kose, Dabao, Amway, Small nurses(bought par L’Oreal), Shiseido…




Further information about cosmetic in China, go on cosmetic China category, where you will find all the articles about the topic.

We propose really specifics services for cosmetic brands in China (click here).


Marketing China

Written by Olivier

Olivier, Passionnated about Marketing and Chine. Already 30 years old and 6 years spending in China. I share my analysis about China, for almost 4 years via my french Blog marketing-chine.com.


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