Skincare is the top-selling category in China’s e-commerce, driven by the country’s beauty-conscious culture, the e-commerce boom, rising disposable income, influencer marketing, and diverse product offerings. With a focus on personal care and beauty, Chinese consumers have embraced online shopping for skincare products, propelling the category’s success in the thriving e-commerce market.
The Skincare Sector in China
In China, skincare stands as the dominant and rapidly expanding segment within the Beauty & Personal Care market. It has achieved remarkable double-digit market growth, surpassing segments like haircare, fragrances, and color cosmetics. While foreign brands often enjoy greater popularity, both Chinese and foreign companies benefit from this success.
The skincare market in China continues to thrive due to the high demand for products from Japan and South Korea, known for their skincare innovations. Additionally, the preference for natural ingredients further contributes to the steady increase in skincare revenues.
The skincare industry in China has witnessed impressive revenue growth in recent years. In 2020, it generated $13.79 billion, which increased to $16.35 billion in 2022.
Projections indicate that by 2026, the industry will reach $23.30 billion, demonstrating an annual growth rate of 8.78% between 2021 and 2025. The Chinese skincare market is heavily influenced by major trends, with anti-aging products, natural ingredients, and genderless cosmetics leading the way in terms of consumer preferences.
E-Commerce in China: Skincare Segment
A great contribution to the growth of the beauty sector came from the increase in sales through e-commerce platforms.
Thanks to giants such as Tmall or JD.com, in fact, brands now also reach customers in less connected cities than those of the first and second tier. Not only. Digital tools also allow you to stimulate brand awareness, ensure a more pleasant shopping experience, and launch promotions.
Cross-border e-commerce sales are also steadily increasing. This is because international brands continue to be particularly appreciated by Chinese users for their quality.
In first place among the cross-border platforms, we find Tmall Global, followed by JD Worldwide and Kaola.com. Also thanks to its various advertising features, Tmall Global reaches 666 million users every month.
Top E-Commerce Platforms for Selling Skincare Products in China
The leading e-commerce website in China, Tmall is ideal for established companies. The application process is rigorous, and fees can be high for smaller businesses. A strong online reputation and high-quality skincare products are prerequisites for applying.
Tmall’s main competitor, JD.com offers a diverse product catalog ranging from groceries to cutting-edge technologies. Similar to Tmall, it can be challenging for smaller companies to meet the requirements for selling on JD.com.
Launched by Alibaba in 2003, Taobao is more accessible to smaller domestic companies compared to Tmall. The fees are relatively lower, and prices on the platform are generally more affordable. To sell on Taobao, finding a Chinese distributor or establishing a Chinese entity is necessary. We can assist you in finding a Chinese skincare products distributor if needed.
Unlocking Success in the Chinese Skincare Market – The Crucial Role of E-Reputation
To be able to sell on the Chinese e-commerce platforms your brand must be known by the consumers and considered trustworthy. E-reputation should be the core of your marketing strategy when doing e-commerce in China.
Chinese consumers don’t trust new brands and before buying a new product they want to be sure that it’s a good one, so they go on forums and blogs and they do some research.
In order to build a good e-reputation you need to:
- have a website on Baidu, Chinese most used search engine, to look legitimate;
- work on SEO and SEM, to rank in a good position;
- have an official account on WeChat, and join as many groups and communities as possible to promote your company;
- be present on Zhihu or Toutiao, two Chinese Q&A platforms, in order to generate awareness about your brand and to educate your consumers about your products.
Enhancing Skincare Brand Experience through Augmented Reality
To keep up with Chinese high standards of technology, brands like Lancôme started using augmented reality technologies to offer a highly personalized service to their customers. To do this, it acquired ModiFace, a start-up founded by dermatologists that use photos or videos of users to simulate skincare treatments on them.
The App developed by ModiFace analyzes skin imperfections and then recommends specific treatments accompanied by an image of future results. In short, like having a specialist at your disposal without having to take a step out of the house.
It is possible to choose the variations of a product and apply them to your figure from the camera. The color palette is fully selectable; you can change the intensity of the color and apply different types of makeup (blush, eye shadow, etc.).
This interactive experience not only simplifies the choice but also encourages the purchase of more products and collects consumer preferences.
The Power of WeChat Mini-Programs
Mini-programs are WeChat internal mini-apps. They have 600 million active users. They offer extra services: e-commerce, coupons, tasks, games, and augmented realities. They are used in order to improve the relationship between brands and consumers and strengthen customer loyalty.
Mini-programs can replicate the activity of large e-commerce platforms on a small scale. In fact, brands can use them as a second sales channel. Furthermore, they are useful for content marketing to support the online offer of brands.
Mini-programs are used also in the beauty sector thanks to their numerous functionalities.
For example, the Armani Beauty mini-program gives WeChat users the possibility to choose the lipstick shade that best suits their ruddiness.
Elevate Your Skincare Brand through Live Streaming
Also thanks to the closing of physical stores, the revenues of the beauty sector generated by live streaming continue to rise.
In fact, live streaming is particularly suitable for making reviews, tutorials, and instant sales of products, especially if they concern make-up. Often the peaks in sales are linked to the direct reports of particular KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) of national fame.
Another factor of interest is the discount on products previously agreed by influencers with brands. This mix of direct information, low prices, entertainment, and trust in KOLs leads consumers to decide to buy faster than usual.
Platforms like Douyin are really indicated for live streaming. Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok, and it’s an application to create and share short videos (about 15 seconds). A challenge is a great way to build a community of like-minded people. They are used to promote a specific topic, brand, or content. Challenges on Douyin can be promoted with a unique hashtag or stickers.
Driving Growth through Social Commerce and Group Buying
A new trend that is emerging in China is that of social commerce, like Xiaohongshu and Pinduoduo. They are marketplaces and social media at the same time.
Xiaohongshu has more than 200 million users and it is growing a lot. It was born as a shopping guide. It mainly attracts consumers who appreciate quality and authenticity. It is mainly used by millennials of first and second-tier cities. There is a collaboration between Taobao (Alibaba) and Xiao Hong Shu: posts on Little Red Book can appear in product page reviews on Taobao.
Pinduoduo is famous for its group-buying function. It is one of the most important e-commerce platforms after Tmall and Jd. One of its strong points is the cheap price and discounts. In fact, generally, the products on the platform have very low prices. Furthermore, users can take advantage of the group buying function to further lower prices.
Each product sold on Pinduoduo has two prices. One is the official price, and the other is the discounted price for group purchases. In order to access the second, you must find at least one friend who wishes to join the purchase. For each person who is added to the purchase, the price is further reduced. Therefore, users share their purchase orders with their circle of contacts on social networks.
Pinduoduo offers also a live streaming function, which as we saw before is very important and profitable in China.
Partner with Us to Launch Your Skincare Line on China’s Premier E-Commerce Platforms
At GMA, we understand the intricacies of the Chinese skincare market and the importance of leveraging the right strategies to succeed. With our 20 years of experience in the industry, we are here to guide and support you in launching your skincare line on China’s premier e-commerce platforms.
Our team of experts is well-versed in the nuances of Tmall, JD.com, Taobao, and other influential platforms, ensuring that your brand gains maximum visibility and engages with the target audience effectively. We offer comprehensive services, including market research, platform selection, application assistance, distributor search, and more.
Don’t miss out on the tremendous opportunities that await your skincare brand in China. Partner with us and benefit from our deep expertise and established connections. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you navigate the complexities of the Chinese market and successfully launch your skincare line on the country’s premier e-commerce platforms. Together, let’s unlock the immense potential for your brand in China’s thriving skincare industry.