The growing demand for natural insect repellents in China

In 2018, Asia-Pacific represented the largest share of the insect repellent market, accounting for almost two-fifths of the global market share. China is one of the leading regions in the sale of insect repellent products and is expected to maintain its leadership position in the future. Mosquitos repellant is a major segment of the para-pharmacy segment in China. In 2020 new trends and requests for specific products are expanding in the Chinese insect repellent products market, therefore given the great opportunities, companies must take up this challenge and enter this thriving market.

Mosquito repellent is the best-selling product in China

By insect type, the market is divided into mosquito, bugs, fly repellent and others, however, mosquito is the leading segment and therefore, the most used insect repellent product because, according to Allied market research, mosquitos are considered as the most dangerous insects and could spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever which can be harmful to human healthy and sometimes lead to death.

As you can see in the following picture, according to Rentokil, a part of China is one of the areas at greatest risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Therefore, mosquito repellent could work as a solution as it protects an individual from harmful mosquito bites, mites or ticks.

What are the reasons why mosquito repellent products are selling good in China?

The factors driving the mosquito repellent market are:

  • Rising awareness among the government and health officials about the need to control mosquitos,
  • Rising health awareness among the population,
  • Growing consumer awareness regarding insect borne diseases,
  • Affordable cost of repellents.

Mosquitos repellent are available in different forms such as coil, spray, cream & oil, vaporizer, mat, and others. However, new products with innovative designs have been coming up to avoid health problems.

These products are mostly used in first and second tier cities, in fact, slow adoption in rural regions has become one of the major restrain for the growth of mosquito repellent market.  For this reason, there is the need to make people understand the importance of these products also in Chinese rural areas.

New products are becoming very popular to avoid harmful effects in China

Synthetic products are no longer in demand

The presence of toxic chemicals in various repellent products causes ill effect on health. Synthetic products like Methyl anthranilate, Benzaldehyde, DEET and others are causing several health problems for example:

  • breathing problem
  • itching in eyes
  • headache after using insect repellents
  • allergic reaction

In addition, products such as sprays have adverse effects on the health due to content of DEET in them, and products such as repellent liquids also have some negative effects on the health.

Not to think about the risks faced by children and pregnant women using these repellents.

Due to this reason, huge opportunities prevail for insect repellent market owing to the rise in demand for plant-based repellent.

Growing demand for plant-based insect repellent products

In recent years, traditional insect prevention methods have been replaced with new insect repellents available on the market. In urban areas, increased demand for natural and herbal insect repellents is fueling Chinese market growth.

The Chinese market is now trendy with herbal sprays that are skin friendly and last longer than chemical based sprays and also help reduce the change in allergic reaction.

Natural ingredients, like beautyberry (Callicarpa) leaves, birch tree bark, bitronella oil, lemongrass, tea tree oil and others are in great demand.

For instance many brands and manufactures are coming up with various different products that are reducing the harmful effects of the repellents. For example, products with herbal creams for mosquito repellent, which is good for skin as well.

Anti-mosquito repellent wrist band is booming in China

Anti-mosquito repellent wrist band is one of the innovative products which is waterproof and is effective in driving mosquitos away. The product is available in different colors and brands and is in huge demand in China, in particular for children.

Insect repellent wrist band has been one of the top performing categories with +250% during the recent Tmall 618 shopping festival.

This result is a clear example of how the demand for insect repellent products, that do not cause health problems, is huge in China.

How can a brand that sells insect repellent products promote them in the Chinese market?

Social media as a tool to teach and explain product’s ingredients to Chinese consumers

Social media channels gain more trust on Chinese consumers. People get a stronger connection with the brand through social media and at the same time brands can reach Chinese consumers and interact with them by:

  • teaching them how to use the products
  • explaining to them what type of ingredients the product is made of
  • what are the benefits of their products.

The most suitable social media for insect repellent products are Wechat and Xiaohongshu.

Wechat, with its 1.165 billion monthly active users, is the main Chinese social network

Born as a messaging platform, over the years it has introduced several innovative and advanced features that have made it more than a simple online chat.

For example, it allows users to:

  • Chat with people and friends
  • Stay informed about news in any area
  • Use WeChat Wallet to shop online through mini programs which cover functions like e-commerce
  • Pay via mobile thanks to Wechat pay
  • Help companies to interact with followers and keep them updated on brand news
  • Offer companies Wechat advertising functions

Xiaohongshu, with its 85 million monthly active users, is the best social ecommerce platform

Little Red Book, or Xiaohongshu in Mandarin, is a perfect mix between a social network and cross-border ecommerce. In addition to creating networks of contacts and publishing content, it is in fact possible to directly purchase the products shown on the screen through the practical “link-to-buy”.

Like Wechat, it offers several opportunities for brands, in particular, they can collaborate with KOLs increasing the credibility and desirability of companies.

How to create a good social media marketing strategy to reach Chinese consumers?

To reach Chinese consumers companies should develop a good digital marketing strategy on these platforms, it means a localized content, design and images. The image below is a clear example because it shows how two famous brands in the insect repellent sector are using Wechat to communicate with consumers.

For example, in the first image to the left, you can see how Mopidick is teaching to consumers what could be problems for children resulting from the pinch of a mosquito.  While, in the second and third images, the Baifb brand (白肤邦), in response to the strong demand for natural products to avoid health problems, underlines the use of plant-based ingredients in its products to attract the attention of Chinese consumer.

Forums and Q&A platform

Forums and questions and answers platforms in China are a common way to discuss and ask questions about products and daily life issues.

Zhihu, with its 34 million monthly active users is the most used Q&A platform in China

Zhihu is the Chinese question-and-answer site like Quora. On Zhihu, questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its users. In Classical Chinese, “Zhihu” means “Do you know.”

Users can use this platform to:

  • Write articles
  • Participate in discussions
  • Interact with an audience in real-time
  • Companies can develop Q&A Campaigns, answering questions, establishing relationship with users, building their reputation, introducing products and others
  • Brands can invite experts or key opinion leaders to answer questions for them

Zhihu, is an amazing platform where people, and in particular parents, ask questions about:

  • how to solve a problem causing by the mosquito’s pinch
  • which kind of products use
  • what are the benefits, advantages and disadvantages using specific products.

On Zhihu, as you can see in the following images, people are showing what kind of consequences has the mosquito’s pinch for children and how they cause insomnia for children. Then the third image shows a mosquito crying because it doesn’t smell human because of the insect repellent.

Tmall is the best e-commerce platform to sell your insect repellent products in China

Tmall is the biggest B2C (business-to-consumer) platform in China. Tmall was launched by Taobao in 2010 and since its creation is the number one online sales platform in the Asian giant. This e-commerce platform operates in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Tmall belongs to Alibaba group which owned several online maketplaces such as Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall, Juhuasuan and AliExpress.

Tmall is characterized by the fact of:

  • Enable brands to sell their products and services directly to consumers in China
  • It uses Alipay’s payment system
  • Vendors have to be approved in order to set up a store in the marketplace
  • It ensures authentic and premium quality products to its consumers

Tmall, is the best platform to sell your insect repellent products in China. Many brands are using this platform to sell their insect repellent, and in particular, mosquito repellent.

For example, the image below shows what the Tmall e-commerce platform looks like and the list that follows to the right of the red arrow, lists all the major brands that sell insect repellent in this platform.

Tmall has also a cross border e-commerce platform, called Tmall Global, which offers companies to sell products in the Chinese market without having a physical presence on it.

Compared to the list of Tmall e-commerce platform companies, which are mostly Chinese, the companies here are all foreign, especially Japanese. The list of companies is made up of brands such as:

  • Pigeon
  • Alfresco
  • Kincho
  • Burt’s bees
  • Puressential
  • Mospro
  • Vape
  • others

What are the other options for selling insect repellent products in China?

The e-commerce platform with its worldwide cross-border e-commerce platform and the Kaola cross-border e-commerce platform could be other Tmall options for selling your insect repellent products.

  •京东Jīngdōng) is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. It 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. is an ecommerce platform that boasts an incredibly wide range of products that includes categories such as cosmetics, fresh food, clothing, and much more. dominates above all the electronic products and fresh food market.
  • Kaola provides online sales of various imported products via cross-border e-commerce. All foreign products, like cosmetics, household products, clothes and accessories, on the platform are managed and purchased directly from local suppliers through various factories around the world. Kaola is also characterized to offer promotions including daily offers, member offers, special coupons and more, which attract many Chinese consumers looking for foreign goods and affordable prices.
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