Toothpaste in China : a $4.8 billion Market

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China’s oral care market is forecasted to reach USD 10.8 billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 9.8% during the forecast period (2020 – 2025). Oral care in China is still in its development stage, with rising consumer awareness about new and advanced products.  However, during the forecast period, the oral care market in China is expected to grow, as the increased awareness and standards of consumers’ living conditions are improving.

The Toothpaste market in China is Lucrative

In China, the toothpaste and toothbrush manufacturing industry is expected to generate $4.8 billion in 2020, up 6.0% from 2019. Revenue is expected to grow at an annualized 6.2% over the five years through 2020.

Over the next five years, industry revenue is forecasted to increase at an annualized 5.1%, reaching $6.1 billion in 2025.

Nowadays oral care products take third place in the daily chemical industry. The oral care market is following skincare and hair care products. It is well known that toothpaste is one of the products that is demanded on a daily basis and so it occupies one of the largest sections in the oral care industry with 77% of total amounts of sales.

In line with increasing household income levels and consumption power, the demand for toothpaste products is growing steadily. However, when it comes to whitening strips, dental floss, and mouthwash, they account for a small portion of revenue.

The Chinese Toothpaste Market is Dominated by Giants

Chinese market of oral care is dominated by major companies, which are foreign-invested companies. China’s oral care market is consolidated due to the strong presence of companies like Colgate-Palmolive, Hawley & Hazel, and Procter & Gamble.

Remarkably, foreign brands during these last years have been overtaken steadily by domestic brands. Recently, online markets are taking over offline markets such as supermarkets, which served as the primary distribution channel for oral care items. In this sense, and Taobao experienced lots of sales to a large degree when it comes to daily bases products.

Chinese market opportunities for Toothpaste brands

Today Chinese consumers become very selective in terms of their daily care products, which means that they tend to choose more high-quality products and they are willing to purchase more online.

In addition, a national oral health epidemiological investigation in China revealed that more than 97% of adults are suffering from oral problems. It reflects that the toothpaste market is experiencing a rising demand for specific oral care products.

Moreover, due to the covid-19 pandemic, health-oriented products have gained increasing favor among Chinese consumers and the high pricing trend of these products increased the number of sales.

The increasing economic power of consumers has created a niche for high-end toothpaste with customized health benefits.

How to promote your Toothpaste brand in China?

Give your Toothpaste brand more visibility on Baidu

Like Google, Baidu has a huge market share in China with 70% of all online research carried out here. It really is a portal to China. Being visible on Baidu is the first step to success in China. Chinese people do many types of research online when it comes to deciding which product it’s better to buy. Businesses need to be visible with a quality site, landing page, content & third-party references appearing on the search based on Mandarin Character Keywords.

Combine PPC & SEO for more results on Baidu

A combination of Pay Per Click AdsSEO to rank in the search engine results can deliver a lot of quality traffic to your website. A website with a Seo structure is indexed in the highest positions. 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.

Websites need to be built as ‘vehicles for visibility’ on Baidu (bank-end optimization) with the right keywords optimized in your content as well as titles & descriptions. Selecting the best keywords is about analyzing search data to ascertain the highest traffic for the best keyword price, a must when it comes to competitive keywords.

Oral Care belongs to the health segment, reputation matters the most

Chinese consumers on Zhihu ask which toothbrush brand is better

In China, you have to start from scratch. The vast majority of internet research (over 97.5%) is conducted in Mandarin Chinese Characters. English content, positive reviews, and most western media platforms will not be visible on the Chinese net.

Picture the Chinese web as a separate region of the net, cut off by the ‘Great Chinese Firewall’, it’s a unique ecosystem that requires a fresh approach. Build your visibility & reputation on the right Chinese platforms.

If you want to have success in China, you have to start by building your e-reputation. Chinese people do not easily trust new brands especially if their health is involved.

PR is to boost the e-Reputation of your Toothpaste Brand in China

PR is one of the most cost-effective solutions in the digital marketing scenario. It is a basic of marketing where the right people talk about you. It is a great tool to build your credibility and increase your visibility.

Q&A & Forums to Promote the Toothpaste brand

Chinese consumers’ trust is not easy to gain. When doing research about a brand, consumers will not look at official reviews as reliable. They will instead look for what other consumers are saying on the many Q&A and forums available in China: Zhihu, Tieba, Zhidao, Wenwen, etc.

Let’s take a look at Zhihu for instance:

You can use platforms like Zhihu, which is a Chinese Q&A platform launched in 2011, similar to Quora and Yahoo answers. Zhihu’s audience is rather educated with 70% of them holding at least a bachelor. The platform has many features that can be used to create and manage a community around a topic related to your brand. Use these tools to educate your audience about your products and exchange information with them but also to build your authority. Here are some of these tools:

  • Zhihu column
  • Zhihu bookstore
  • Zhihu Roundtable
  • Zhihu live
  • Zhihu tip service.

Selling Toothpaste in China: Opportunities even for small brands

There are many different platforms to market your business on depending on your product/service type & sector. It’s not just about gaining exposure on the largest platforms to drive sales, there are many smaller, niche sources that have highly engaged followings, remember with over 900 million Chinese now online there are always alternative corners on the Internet.

In terms of E-commerce, Tmall & JD are the biggest names but are quite expensive. Other niche platforms to consider for e-retail include Little Red Book, Taobao Global, Hupu, and Mad Hatter.

Little Red Book: a good option to start testing the market with your Toothpaste brand

Once you have worked on your e-reputation, you can start selling on Little Red Book, the social commerce platform.

It represents a good opportunity for international brands. The content of social commerce shows the dual nature of the platform: a marketplace and social media. Consumers can both buy products and read or write comments about a specific product.

60% of users are Millennials or the so-called Generation Z and more than 70% live in first or second-tier cities. 85% of users are women.

Little Red Book is supported by Alibaba and Tencent. This means the App accepts WeChat pay and Alipay as payment methods.

Kols: a powerful way to advertise your products

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are established online figures that have gathered large followings around themselves. They are similar to Western influencers. They are highly influential and can represent a business or brand.

Chinese consumers during the purchase choice find 3 of the 5 main points of contact with brands in the digital world. They are:

  • website,
  • social network
  • influencers

With the importance of social media in our society, KOLs are a perfect way to connect your brand quickly to a large audience. Working with influencers is particularly efficient in China because Chinese people are more likely to trust someone they admire rather than advertising.

Different KOLs allow you to tap into specific communities and demographics, providing quality-targeted exposure.
KOLs communicate through social media and live-streaming platforms. They show products, entertain the users and convey trust in your products.

The best approach for KOLs is to post content simultaneously on different platforms. This has an ‘echo chamber’ effect and supports the legitimacy of the brand.

Kols marketing: keep this in mind

Kols marketing and Live streaming, although they are great tools should not be the first steps for small and medium brands in China. It is important that you first build your reputation and a strong online presence on the Chinese internet.

Why? No matter how good and famous your Kols is, it will rarely be enough for consumers to trust your brand and purchase from you if it’s the first time they ever hear from you.

Find experts in the Social Media Marketing

You might need to get a quality guide, which is vital in order to be able to navigate the Chinese market. We at GMA are an international team of 60 marketers, copywriters, publishers, and ad experts. We work in many fields beginning from branding, and ad strategy arriving to lead generation. We can help you to build strong and serious relationships based on results and the achievement of a clear KPI.

We have helped Coswell to Develop its Marketing Strategy in China. (See Case study Here)


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If you have any questions or if you are willing to promote your brand in China, contact us now!

Read more about health in China:


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