China’s haircare market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.1% during the next five years. Hair Growth Takes Over 34% of the total market.
The market is majorly driven by the increased consumer concerns about scalp health, mainly problems related to hair thinning, hair loss, dandruff, and sensitive scalp.
Additionally, China’s extreme climatic conditions are severe on hair, and therefore, boosts the market growth.
Also, the growing demand for natural products and customized products for personal grooming has become one of the primary concerns for individuals. Among the organic hair care products, due to their wide usage, shampoo and conditioner held a majority share in the global organic haircare market in 2019.
By the end of 2019, the total market turnover for shampoo is over 30 billion RMB, and the hair-care market in China is 20 million RMB.
The Chinese target audience for Haircare products
The Chinese target audience for hair care products is made of three major groups:
- Middle-aged women: they are 35-50 years old. Due to the growth of their age, time left indelible signs on these ladies. Moreover, overate concentration on family, and their hair is lack care.
- Scientific-work women are 35-45 years old. Highly educated. Lasting brain use of study has consumed their hair, and most of them need to work in the laboratories, those chemical elements they encounter in their work would damage their hair. They urgently need effective hair growth products for their future life
- Iron-deficient women between 22-40 years old. Most of them live in first-tier cities like Shanghai, and Beijing. The fast pace of life and the high pressure of their jobs make their limited time for rest. Unhealthy lifestyles are damaging their hair day by day.
Chinese haircare market’s leaders
The Chinese haircare market is composed in this way:
- 30 % is mainly composed of Korean, and Japanese brands, and a small part of European and American Brands.
- 27% by Chinese brands for hair growth, starting from 1928, mainly concentrates on Chinese medicine ingredients;
- 25% Procter& Gamble, giant in the fast-moving consumer groups market, for the hair growth product;
- 18% by Unilever, a giant in the fast-moving consumer groups market, recently seek the opportunity of hair growth;
How can an international hair care brand enter the Chinese market?
Build a reputation in China for your hair care products
Even if in your country of origin you are well known and you have a relevant market share, when entering the Chinese market you have to start everything from the beginning. In China, the digital scenario is completely different from the West. You will not find Google, but Baidu.
You will not have WhatsApp but WeChat, not Facebook or Instagram but Weibo and Little Red Book. That is why it is important to invest in building a good e-reputation. Understand that without a good brand image and without being well-known your sales will be equal to zero.
The first step in this long path is to create a Chinese website for Baidu, the Chinese most used search engine. A good website must be in Chinese, with a host in China or near China, and with a design that fits Chinese tastes. For example, differently from European people, the Chinese prefer a heavily decorated website, with red and golden being the most appreciated colors, with plenty of information and a section dedicated to the storytelling of the company and of the brand.
No digital strategy can leave SEO & SEM out
Once your website is ready, you have to make sure that, when Chinese consumers research the info online about hair care products, they encounter your website. So you have to make it rank in the first positions; consider that, usually, a user clicks on the first five presented answers.
A good Seo campaign can help your website to be arranged in a successful way on the internet. For a good Seo strategy, it is necessary to identify the sector and the target, the more effective keywords, and to know the competition.
Baidu Sem includes Baidu Tuiguang, which is the Chinese equivalent of Google Adwords, the platform dedicated to SEM activities. Consisting of a Search part, and a Display with about 600,000 sites affiliated with the Baidu network; and Baidu Brand Zone, a sort of mini-site that appears at the beginning of the SERP. Show information about the brand and its products.
Use Q&A platforms and forums to follow the word of mouth trend
In China, the word of mouth can be a powerful tool if one knows how to use it. When we talk about word of mouth, we often refer to the advice that is offered by one consumer to another in reference to a certain product or service, being mostly consumers who, after having tried it and being satisfied with it, they decide to recommend it.
The WOM is therefore a very powerful communication tool as it is considered an even more participatory source of information than the traditional channels. This is why it is considered an excellent tool for influencing the attitudes and behaviors of consumers.
Tieba is one of the many services offered by Baidu. In particular, Baidu Tieba focuses on the creation of forums around a specific keyword. If by typing in the search bar, no dedicated forum is found, it is created automatically after the query. Although it cannot be used for advertising, it is used by brands in various ways. In fact, it allows users to be engaged on specific topics of interest, creating niche targets among users. It also serves to stimulate brand awareness and receive useful feedback.
Zhihu instead is the most popular Q&A platform among Chinese apps. Its success is based on the authority of the content published by its users. What makes it an interesting app for brands is first of all its audience, made up of educated users with high purchasing power. Furthermore, in terms of SEO optimization, the keywords searched on Baidu are always linked to Zhihu. The app can therefore be used for lead generation and content marketing.
WeChat and Weibo must be part of your strategy
Create official accounts on WeChat and Weibo to communicate and engage with customers. Official accounts will give you authority and credibility in Chinese consumers’ eyes.
WeChat is a must-have when doing business in China. It allows brands to send notifications to their followers and to be engaged with them.
Weibo is similar to Twitter. Post good content easy to consume and easy to share. Your post will get only a second of attention so you have to make it count. Weibo is a great tool for being commercial. Weibo users are looking for discounts and commercial offers. Collaborate with KOLs, and Chinese influencers, on Weibo to promote and introduce your products.
Consider selling your hair care products on Little Red Book
Little Red Book is social commerce, which means that it is a mix of social media and e-commerce platforms so the user can buy the products directly from the platform.
It is a mix between Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon. It is based on a “content-driven” model, which gives great importance to content. It was born as a shopping guide and it mainly attracts consumers who reward quality and authenticity.
For this reason, it represents an opportunity for international brands. The user experience goes from browsing in the home, a content captures his attention, then there is the collecting information process and in the end, the user can buy the product.
While in the traditional e-commerce platforms, the user enters when he is interested in a product, in social commerce the user enters even also for diversion.
Engage with Kols to advertise your products. There are different types of posts:
- Before/after (Kol explains how to obtain the result),
- guide (a wish list of the products the Kol wants to buy),
- tutorials (Kols explain how to use the product).
Since 85 % of users are women and it’s a cheaper platform compared to its main competitors, it is a valid option for your hair care products.
Do you want to sell hair care products to China? Contact Gma.
We are a team of native digital experts based in Shanghai, we have a deep insight into this fascinating market and stay ahead of the curve. If you have a serious project for the Chinese market you can consider news app ads, contact us for a meeting with one of our consultants. We also work extensively in the following area’s;
- Baidu SEO/PPC
- WeChat Development
- Weibo Marketing
- Chinese Content
- PR/Media Exposure
- Targeted Forums & Blogs (niche markets)
- Ecommerce set up & branding
- Lead Generation Services on Multiple Platforms