The Chinese market for hair care is not only the second-largest in terms of total sales, but it’s also projected to grow at a rate faster than any other country with an average annual growth forecast of 4.9% by 2025 ahead of the US!. In other terms, Haircare is becoming the new skincare!
Market overview for hair care
The development of the Chinese middle class has allowed its individuals to consume differently and gain self-confidence. This increase in confidence is necessary for the market as it directly correlates with the growth of total market consumption. As the market changed, the marketing strategy of your brand also needs to be adapted.
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The financial crisis experienced in the country has made emerging consumer habits that are still difficult these days as a marketer, has erased. Indeed, hair care in our western countries is a product steadily and recurrently used by Western consumers. Haircare has always been an item of Western consumer spending.
However, this was not the case in China, where hair products (post-shampoo, hair masks, lacquers) were often perceived as a secondary and unnecessary need for the needs of individuals. Consumption behavior of the sector.
The market for hair care has increased exponentially in recent years. Several factors justify this growth. The market has undergone a restructuring in terms of demand and consumption behavior, which has increased the frequency of purchasing this product segment and sophisticated its environment in terms of targeting, packaging, positioning, expectations.
Segmentation and competitive market intensity
We can find in the market of hair care several segments, shampoos, conditioners and masks, hair products (lacquers, gel, hair wax …), colorations, multifunction products, and hair treatments. The two growth segments are shampoos and conditioners, which are also two categories of products saturated by increased competition from local and international brands dominated by these brands.
In China, the market is seeing a general price decrease. The leading players in the market are Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Avon, Kao, L’Oréal and Henkel. The brands most purchased by consumers are Pantene, Rejoice, and Head & Shoulders.
The Hair Care Market in China
China Consumer Behavior and Haircare Trends
Consumer adoption of products and the influence of consumer trends are important factors in market dynamics and growth as they contribute to anticipating these trends and to understanding the influence they can have on Behavior and consumer purchase decisions.
China Haircare market – Growing Segment
Market demand varies greatly according to the age bracket, so brands have the opportunity here to target different consumer targets according to their age in order to offer products that are consistent with their expectations. The aging of the population is a key factor in the sale of colorations, while the styling segment is growing thanks to the target of young consumers. Young consumers now take more time for their beauty rituals and are looking for effective products for their hair care. A tendency to worship hair treatment is expected in the years to come.
- Natural haircare products
This change in mentality on the market also foresees the development of natural products. Consumers are also no longer aware of the components that can be found in products. This natural trend combined with the development of capillary routine allows a renewed activity of the market by the sale of products with natural ingredients. In addition, international brands are particularly attractive to consumers because they convey an image of quality, safety, and efficiency in China.
- Haircare for Chinese men
It is also worth noting the evolution of the beauty and hair care segment for Men, which is another growth vector segment in the market. The segment remains very small in terms of sales at the moment, however, Chinese men are taking more and more care of their appearance which contributes to the development of products dedicated to their needs.
- Innovative Haircare & packaging
The market to continue its growth needs to restore added value to its products. For this, innovation and packaging design are two factors greatly influencing the buying process of consumers since the Chinese are looking for additional value in their products. The packaging design allows the differentiation of brands is linear, in a highly competitive market.
In a marketplace constantly looking for sales and innovation arguments it is important to play on the content and container. Developing new gestures, new shapes, sizes, and designs will allow you as a brand to develop and communicate your communication.
The growth of the Haircare Segment on Chinese Cross-border eCommerce app: Tmall Global
Live we have observed with skincare, the online retail sales of haircare have grown drastically over the last few years and it is especially true when talking about cross-border eCommerce.
For instance during the D11 2021, Tmall Cross-border recorded an impressive year-on-year growth of 126% with china’s Gen Y and Z (source).
Still, according to Alibaba’s data, we are witnessing the rise of many segments of the haircare industry that were very niche even just a few years back: Pre-wash, scalp treatment, oil, serums, styling products, and so on.
The distribution of hair care
Haircare is distributed across supermarkets and hypermarkets, department stores, specialty stores, and the internet. Almost one-third of the sector’s sales are made via the physical channel.
The preferred distribution channel of the sector remains mostly physical stores. Consumers tend to go into stores to buy their hair products because viewing packaging is of fundamental importance.
Indeed, packaging plays an important role in purchasing thanks to its design, its shape, its colors, and thanks in particular to product presentation that can be found on it. This presentation of the product and the effects it brings to consumers influences the purchase in-store.
E-commerce is a channel of distribution that is led to progress over time as it encounters a certain craze among Chinese people. Several factors justify the rise of digital and online commerce.
At first, the emergence of the Chinese middle class and its purchasing power led to the development of Internet sales. The growing development of smartphones and digital has made it possible to bring out new buyers. Chinese consumers are known for their anticipation in their purchasing acts. Upstream of any purchase, the research on the product, its satisfaction, its price are elements wanted by the individuals. The Internet greatly contributes to the development of their need and facilitates their purchasing process.
According to Mordorintelligence, social media will play an important role in branding brands. Chinese society is made in such a way that individuals truly trust each other. Recommendations, demonstrations, opinions, advice influence purchasing behavior and allow to convey a positive image or not of a product to the public opinion via blogs, forums, social networks, etc.
The market for hair care is an attractive market for foreign brands wishing to develop their activities in the country. For this, the digital channel seems the most suitable and easiest format for undertaking the first commercialization. However, it is important to understand this universe that is totally different from our Western countries.
How to market your hair care brand in China?
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Institutional web site optimized in Mandarin (and for Baidu)
Visibility and reputation are key elements for the development of your business in China. As said before, the Chinese realize many types of research on the internet before buying what they need. Having a website will improve your visibility.
For this, your site must be optimized in Mandarin and hosted in China for better referencing on Baidu (Google Chinese). Indeed, this leading search engine in the country tends not to reference sites that are hosted in other countries and/or other languages.
It is important also for your site to offer content relevant to the consumer such as information and product advice, price, stories, and business philosophy, etc. Chinese individuals do not like wasting their time faster they will find the necessary information to their come to the site best satisfaction there will be. You can also offer a responsive experience of your website, which means a version of your site that adapts to all electronic devices and to any size of the screen.
SEO Through Baidu
Following the creation of your website, it will make you promote it. And for that, nothing better than to improve your SEO on the Chinese search engines, thanks to searches by keywords or backlinks that will bring you back in the rankings of search results.
Pay Per Click is the strategy most used by companies. However, SEO represents a long-term investment for brands that requires quality and relevant content to enhance their reputation and online presence.
Marketing through e-commerce platforms cross border
The easiest and most effective way for foreign brands to sell in China is to go through a cross-border sales platform. In this market, you will find three major players. Tmall Global, JD Worldwide, and WeChat Store.
Sell out JD or Tmall represents an investment on the part of brands but they are a guarantee of quality and confidence for the Chinese consumers because very few counterfeit products are marketed on these platforms.
The social sphere to develop community and online branding
In the Chinese market, you will find a large number of social networks, however, the most used of them is WeChat, which alone represents an ecosystem that integrates many possibilities for individuals and brands. Having an official account on the platform will be a vector of promotion for your brand.
Read as well: China Social Media Marketing Guide
The choice of effective communication techniques in your digital strategy is a major marketing activity for the success of your brand in China. Seeing the difference between the Western and Chinese digital spheres, using a digital agency with the necessary skills to help you develop your business seems to be a smart choice for launching your brand. see our offer and case studies