Male beauty in China: Brands should not miss this opportunity

The male beauty industry in China is booming

In 2019 male beauty and skincare was one of China’s fastest-growing consumer product segments and it’s expected to garner over $166 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 5.4% between 2016 and 2022.

The steadily increasing size of the market can be attributed to the growing purchasing power in China, shifting the traditional mentality into the new generations in China, the development of social media, a wider variety of products, and the improvement of the way of shopping.

Male consumers, especially Chinese millennials, are spending increasing amounts on personal grooming products, and are trading up from basic, traditional men’s grooming categories to less-traditional categories such as skincare, cosmetics, and fragrances.

Alibaba’s Tmall group calls this the “Male Beauty Era” in China. The total number of Chinese men who are buying personal-care products is growing faster than that of women.

The total value of the personal-care items that men are purchasing on Tmall is soaring across all categories, even makeup.

Chinese male beauty consumers trends

Chinese men’s awareness of cosmetics is constantly developing and improving.

Men’s willingness to use skincare and make-up products and consequently spend on such products has surged due to their growing consciousness about their appearances and looks.

Men are growing increasingly conscious about their appearance because of the growth in exposure to digital media and new career opportunities like Key Opinion Leadership that are springing up.

Their needs for skincare and beauty products have grown from simple facial cleansers to a rigorous beauty regime that includes lotion, toner, cream, facial masks, and cosmetics.

This greater devotion to outward appearance and beauty has paved the way for a new market segment in the male skincare sector.

3 trends that explain the rise of Male Beauty in China:

  • Men are getting more sophisticated about their grooming regimen.
  • They’re adding more products to their daily beauty routines to make sure they look their best.
  • Male consumers in China also want products made especially for men.

Premium beauty brands like Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Nivea took the tips a long time ago and added men’s beauty products to their arsenal.

However, there is still a lot of untapped potential in this market that marketers should take advantage of compared to the female beauty and skincare market. Therefore, product diversification is an important factor for brands in the development of the male product market in China.

Who are the Chinese male beauty consumers?

The market is not producing enough specific products for men to satisfy the demand, therefore brands should not miss this opportunity.

L’Oreal has partnered with Alibaba’s Tmall Innovation Center and they found that there is no “a typical” Chinese male consumer. There were 5 different types of guys buying different products in different cities:

  • The “average guy”, doesn’t buy much more than moisturizers and basic body wash.
  • “Young professionals”, actively seeking high-quality skincare products made especially for men.
  • Men focused on face products such as masks and toners.
  • A group that only buys hair products, such as gels and dyes.
  • Another Group uses all types of beauty products and wants quality brands, especially with regard to oral hygiene and colonies.

How international beauty brands are managing this trend?

In recent years, cosmetics that target men have seen remarkable growth in the Chinese beauty market.

Many brands are capitalizing on the growing popularity of men’s grooming and beauty products in China, launching advertising campaigns specifically targeted to Chinese men, particularly targeting urban Chinese millennial men, who have growing disposable incomes and more favorable attitudes toward male beauty categories.

Several foreign brands have begun to rise to the challenge of meeting these new demands. Products including Tom Ford’s concealer for men, Nivea men, L’oreal for men, and Chanel’s Boy de Chanel cosmetics range are selling well on platforms such as Tmall.

The popularity of foreign brands in this space is not surprising. In the pursuit of quality and effectiveness, consumers are not afraid of spending a little more.

The importance of KOLs in the Male beauty market in China

The primary way in which many brands in the beauty industry build awareness in China is through influencer or KOL (key opinion leader) marketing.

In the men’s beauty industry, a new generation of “good-looking young men” (known in Chinese as “small fresh meat” 小 鲜肉) is dominating this space and opening up exciting opportunities for brands to communicate directly with their target audience, whether male or female.

Through KOLs Chinese men can learn about products and techniques. Since the influence that KOLs have on Chinese consumers, many brands are collaborating with KOLs in their marketing campaigns. For example:

  • Xiao Zhan is the China brand ambassador for Olay and Estee Lauder Asia Pacific (makeup and fragrances), while Li Xian is the Asia Pacific brand ambassador for Estee Lauder (skincare and makeup).
  • Kris Wu, singer, and actor, is the first Lancome Asia Pacific, brand ambassador.
  • Lay Zhang, a singer, is the first Asia Pacific brand ambassador for M.A.C
  • Lu Han is the brand ambassador for l’Occitane
  • Wang Yuan, from boy band TFBoys, is the brand ambassador for L’Oreal
  • Huang Xuan, the actor, is the Shiseido brand ambassador.


The hottest lipstick KOL in China – Li Jiaqi

Li Jiaqi, known as the “King of Lipstick” in China or Austin Li, is an internet celebrity and the number 1 seller of lipstick online.

Li represents the new generation of young Chinese men who care a lot about how they look. He applies base makeup and draws his eyebrows, every time before he goes out.

Li said that although most of its viewers are female, he found that since last June, male followers are also growing. He thinks that the demand for male beauty is huge”.

Li Jiaqi is a clear example of KOL’s successful digital strategy in China. He is without a doubt the best salesman of cosmetic and beauty products in China:

  • He sold Using 15,000 lipsticks in just five minutes by using Taobao live streaming
  • Thanks to living streaming about cosmetic and beauty products on Douyin, currently He has close to 40 million fans.


What are the major channels to know to reach male beauty consumers in China?


Baidu SEO to make your brand known in the Chinese market

Before talking about the various promotion and sales channels, we need to focus on the importance of reputation in the beauty sector in China.

Therefore, SEO optimization on Baidu is essential to reach Chinese consumers because one of the places where a consumer is looking for a type of product and therefore a brand is Baidu, the Chinese search engine.

Obviously, an SEM campaign can help you to reach them faster.

Social media to increase brand awareness and loyalty

Given the widespread use of social media in China, this is the best way to reach Chinese consumers. When they want to buy products, the other thing they do, besides looking at Baidu, is go to social media and look for opinions and reviews on the products.

Obviously having an account on these social networks will help the company become a potential choice.

Wechat, Weibo, TikTok (Douyin), and Xiahongshu are the best social networks to increase brand awareness, engage new followers, and increase loyalty to the beauty sector.

In addition, good use of the platform Zhihu (the Chinese Quora) can allow your brand to become famous thanks to word of mouth.

As we said before a KOLs collaboration is important to engage followers!

Thanks to the video streaming app and then live streaming, at present, there are many men’s makeup tutorials. Male beauty bloggers and vloggers on WeChat and Weibo are bringing about an acceptable face of change in the beauty industry.

For example, Wang Yuepeng and Zeng Xuening with a million followers on popular social media platforms, post makeup tutorial videos on everyday skincare.

You can also read our full guide on the Top Marketing Strategies to Succeed in the Beauty Market

E-commerce platforms to increase sales of Male Cosmetic in China

After having got an idea of ​​the various possibilities and deciding to buy the products of a specific brand, the Chinese consumer will choose his platform where to buy the product. The most used platform in China to buy international beauty products remains Tmall.

However, even the platforms mentioned above, Wechat and Xiaohongshu, give Chinese consumers the opportunity to buy directly from social media platforms through respectively mini-programs and the RED e-commerce platform.

Many international brands, like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Shiseido already sell on these platforms.

gma agency

In order to promote your brand and if you have any questions related to how to enter in the Chinese cosmetic market, contact GMA now!

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