Entering in China’s booming vaginal probiotics market

The feminine intimate care market in China

The feminine intimate care market, which includes tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and vaginal health products, makes up a significant share of the personal care market worldwide.

Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region with a CAGR of 4.1% from 2019 to 2025. As the nation with the highest population, it is unsurprising that China is home to the largest market for feminine intimate care products worldwide. This is encouraging manufacturers to invest in the region to expand their business.

The growth of the market is attributed to:

  • Increase in spending power of young consumers
  • A fast-expanding market for vitamins and supplements
  • Increasing awareness among female consumers regarding genital hygiene
  • Rising inclination of women toward female hygiene products owing to increasing risk of health issues
  • Rising awareness about the products offered by the manufacturers

Vaginal probiotics market in China

In the feminine hygiene market, probiotics for women’s health are growing rapidly. Probiotics for women’s health in 2019 had a public potential of over 1.4 billion women in 20 countries, including the largest probiotic markets such as the United States, China, Italy, and so on.

Factors such as reproductive tract infections are becoming common among teenagers due to poor genital hygiene, and are expected to lead the market in China.

Probiotics are regarded as live bacteria that are able to provide health benefits. The health benefits that probiotics provide consumers help in the treatment of diseases related to the urinary tract, vagina and skin.

Within the vaginal ecosystem, there is a delicate balance between hormones, bacteria and acidity levels. Vaginal infections can occur when the dominant bacteria in the vagina, Lactobacilli, become overtaken by other bacteria or fungal micro-organisms.

The most common types of vaginal infections are:

  • bacterial vaginosis (BV),
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis,
  • Trichomonas vaginalis (TV).

These conditions are associated with vaginal inflammation, thereby increasing the risk of acquiring HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Lactobacilli are typically the most common bacteria in the vagina. They produce lactic acid, which prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria. Probiotics act as the first line of defense by preventing infectious agents from causing harm.

The types of probiotics are segmented into bacteria and yeasts and are ingested through food or supplements.

 Food and beverages probiotics support vaginal balance

The food and beverage segment is expected to witness the fastest growth rate as probiotics positively affect vaginal health. Indeed, many of us are aware of the benefits of probiotics in the gut, but we now know that some orally taken probiotics are able to survive in the gastrointestinal tract and rise into the vagina from the rectum.

Foods enriched with probiotics include:

  • yogurt
  • fermented foods
  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • supplement milk.

The market is segmented into liquid probiotics and dry probiotics. Thanks to its implementation in yogurt, which is the most common source of probiotics, the demand for liquid probiotics has increased compared to dry probiotics. Other fluid probiotic products include probiotic juices and yogurt-based drinks, which are good daily supplement options.

How to enter China’s vaginal probiotics market?

Since Chinese consumers lack knowledge of probiotics’ benefits other than gut health, companies that want to enter China’s vaginal probiotics market should take care of Chinese consumers understanding of vaginal probiotics, educating and teaching them about the product’s use and benefits.

 Use social networks for teaching about vaginal probiotics benefits – Clinicians case-study

The best way for a brand to gain legitimacy in a market where doubt and mistrust reign is to position itself as a teacher, as an advisor. By adopting an educational approach, the brand seems expert.

In China, since women are not very familiar with vaginal probiotics and do not know how to use them, brands should provide useful advice and guides. However, where to do so?

Since the daily use of social networks in China, social networks are the best places where to teach about products’ benefits and use. We will give you an example of what and how social media is used by the English company Clinicians.

 Wechat: the main channel used by the Chinese population

WeChat is the main channel for companies that want to promote their products and communicate directly with Chinese consumers: with over a billion active users and more than one million transactions per minute, WeChat is an aggregator of features that allow the user a true omnichannel experience.

It allows users:

  • to create a circle of contacts
  • publish content
  • stay informed about news in any area,
  • to make reservations
  • shop online
  • pay via mobile
  • transfer money to other contacts

As you can see in the following picture, Clinicians, is using Wechat to explain how to solve vaginal issues by using its products. It also talks about product ingredients focusing on the use of natural products benefits.

Xiaohongshu & KOLs collaboration to create engagement

Xiaohongshu, also known as RED is a social e-commerce platform, a combination of social media and e-commerce platform.

As a social ecommerce platform, the app allows users to post and share product reviews, travel blogs, and lifestyle stories via short videos and photos and at the same time, thanks to its RED Mall, sells international products to Chinese users.

80% of the users are females, therefore it is the perfect choice to reach your target and sell vaginal probiotics.

KOL collaboration on this platform are a good opportunity for brands to gain the trust of Chinese consumers and induce them to buy products.

In the below picture, you can see how Clinicians are using Xiaohongshu to engage with Chinese consumers, using KOLs.

 Forum for sharing opinions and giving/obtaining recommendations

Zhihu is the most used Chinese Q&A platform where Chinese people ask and answer questions about products’ benefits and product use.

Zhihu (Do you know?) is a Chinese question-and-answer website like the western Quora, launched in January 2011. Its motto is “Share your knowledge, experiences, and thoughts with the world.”

Zhihu’s success is continuing to grow, in fact, on January 2019, it had accumulated 220 million users who had posted over 130 million answers. For this reason, it is one of the most functional platforms for marketing in china.

Companies can use this platform to teach Chinese people:

  • how to use vaginal probiotics
  • why use them
  • what are products benefits

How to reach Chinese consumers and become visible in China’s vaginal probiotics market?

Brands that want to enter the Chinese market should understand that Chinese consumers don’t buy products they don’t know. Given their widespread use of the Internet, in the pre-purchase phase, to obtain information on products and brands, they turn to Chinese platforms.

In addition, they rely on people who have tried that product, on friends, on reviews on social networks, and especially on the reviews of their idols, called KOLs.

Therefore, the key to running a successful marketing campaign is localizing. Localization is essential to be visible in the Chinese market, and proper use of Chinese digital platforms is essential to reach your target market.

The channels for promoting your brand in China are different from the western ones, so what are the platforms used by Chinese consumers to get information about vaginal probiotics?

Baidu: The Chinese version of Google

Baidu is the first choice for an advertising campaign to reach Chinese consumers. To be visible on Baidu, the Chinese Search engine, a brand should create:

  • Chinese website
  • Hosted in China
  • get ICP license

Because Baidu knows only Mandarin and gives priority to websites hosted in China, so they are extremely important for your SEO ranking.

Brands should also take advantage of Baidu SEM tools.

If you are looking to build a strong SEO strategy but you don’t know how to process it, you can trust our experienced SEO experts. Gentlemen Marketing Agency has years of experience working with brands, big companies as well as smaller ones. We work with clients from every industry and help them get the best online image they could have in the Chinese market.

Social media are the best channels to promote your vaginal probiotics in China

China is the largest social media market in the world, with people increasingly addicted to these platforms. They use them to look for a place to share their opinions, ask for product advice and connect with others.

Digital marketing campaigns will be the right choice to promote vaginal probiotics in the Chinese market. But what are the top 3 social media used by Chinese consumers?

Wechat, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu is the best Chinese social media to promote vaginal probiotics.

We already talked about Wechat and Xiaohongshu, therefore we will focus on the third social media platform: Weibo.

With 520 million monthly active users, Weibo is the second most used social network in China. It can be considered a mix of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, presenting itself as a micro-blogging platform.

It allows users:

  • Share posts, photos, videos, external links, files and text messages
  • Follow specific topics through hashtags (#)
  • Create microblogs and surveys and search for information or advice
  • Use promotions for online purchases on connected e-commerce platforms
  • Communicate to the masses
  • Collaborate with KOL to increase audience ratings and recommendations through word of mouth
  • Sell products through the Weibo store.


How can companies sell vaginal probiotics in China?

The rise in penetration of e-commerce and smart devices like mobile phones and tablets, along with benefits like easy payment options and discounts, are the factors contributing to the growth of this market. Changing the lifestyle of consumers is enabling them to shop from anywhere and anytime. Moreover, the low cost associated with online start-ups is boosting the growth of this segment.

In addition to Weibo, Wechat also offers you the possibility to sell your products through in-app links that refer to external e-commerce platforms and the social e-commerce platforms Xiaohongshu, the most used e-commerce channels to sell vaginal probiotics to Chinese consumers are Tmall, Pinduoduo, and JD.com.

Tmall: vaginal probiotics sales increased by +100% on this platform

During the recent 618 Shopping festival, on Tmall, sales of vaginal probiotics increased by +100% compared to the last year. These products are one of the top 16 performing product categories in 618 Campaign 2020, showing how much the market is expected to increase in the future.

Tmall is the biggest B2C (business-to-consumer) platform in China. It was launched by Alibaba’s Taobao in 2010 and since its creation is the first e-commerce platform in China.

Tmall is a general marketplace and offers consumers all kinds of products from over 100,000 brands. On tmall brands can open a:

  • Flagship store
  • Authorized store
  • Specialty store

GMA can help you to create your best digital marketing strategy on Tmall through:

  • Shop Design (We make your shop attractive to Chinese buyers, putting your products in the best possible light)
  • In-platform Advertising (Tmall is more than a store. It is a product Search Engine. We use Tmall promotion tools and Ads to help you Sell)
  • Off-platform Marketing (KOL, e-reputation, Banner ads, we have experts for each of these promotional strategies)
  • Reporting & Analysis (We monitor your shops & ads results, and optimize them to get you the best ROI. Then we provide you with easy-to-digest reports).

Pinduoduo and JD.com e-commerce platforms to sell vaginal probiotics in China

JD.com (京东Jīngdōng) is the second B2C online retailer in China after Alibaba’s Tmall. It is partly owned by Tencent, which has a 20% stake in the company.

JD.com is an ecommerce platform that boasts an incredibly wide range of products that includes categories such as cosmetics, fresh food, clothing, and much more like vaginal probiotics.

It offers millions of different items of thousands of brands from more than 170,000 retailers.

JD.com is characterized to:

  • Offer a wide range of products
  • Have competitive prices
  • Provide a smart internal logistics service (short-delivery times within 24 hours)
  • offer “zero tolerance” towards counterfeit products
  • be specialized in AI and AR/VR

Pinduoduo (拼多多) is the largest interactive e-commerce platform in China and in the world. It is the third-largest online marketplace behind Alibaba and JD.com in China.

It has pioneered several new trends that have revolutionized online shopping in China including:

  1. social e-commerce
  2. team purchase
  3. consumer-to-manufacturer (C2M)

 Cross-border e-commerce platforms to sell vaginal probiotics without having a physical presence in China

China’s Cross-border e-commerce platforms have become highly popular among consumers as major channels to buy authentic foreign goods.

If you want to sell your products without having a physical presence in China and without having to face the long and complex authorization procedure with local authorities, which is mandatory for export and sale through traditional channels.

To sell vaginal probiotics, you can choose between Tmall global, JD worldwide, and Kaola.

gma agency

In order to promote your brand and if you have any questions related to digital marketing in China, contact GMA now!

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