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Luxury Cosmetics

China has become the world’s most important cosmetic market, successfully entering the market and becoming the second L’Oreal or Shiseido in China, is the dream of many other foreign cosmetic brands. While the psychology of Chinese women is changing the Chinese cosmetics market, requiring brand to have a good and current understanding of the the Chinese women’s thinking. According to our analysis and research, and the views of other industry experts and the media, Chinese women has seven main consumer psychologies towards cosmetics consumption:

1. Anti-aging: Moving from ‘anti-wrinkle when getting old’ to ‘anti-aging when they are young’

Rather than waiting until wrinkles appear on the face, female consumers would like to start protecting themselves in their 20’s, aiming to look younger for longer.

2. Skin care: Moving from ‘continuous caring’ to ‘getting an instant effect’

Chinese women no longer trust long term skin care programs, but prefer to see immediate improvements within 7 days or 2 weeks.

3. Skin care: Moving from ‘loyalty to a single brand’ to ‘try variety of brands’

The woman’s original psychology was “I only like Estee Lauder”, but now the psychology has moved to “I use eye cream from Estee Lauder, face cream from Lancôme, mascara cream from Max Factor.” They no longer use all cosmetics of one brand, but select a combination of products from competitive brands.

Cosmetics will move towards the use of small volumes and fast consumption. When women are no longer loyal to a single brand, it is not easy for them to consume the products, and they do not have the excuse to turn to other brands.

4. Make-up demand: From ‘make up for modification’ to ‘personality representation’

A phenomenon in China is that women born in the 70s consider whether it is appropriate to wear lip gloss, those born in the 80s learn how to make up to look natural as though they are not wearing any, while women born in the 90s wear heavy makeup for dating and shopping. This phenomenon reflects the shift in Chinese women’s make-up demands from modifying their appearance to expressing their personality.

5. Shopping process: Moving from ‘offline’ to ‘online’

With such a large number of options and purchase from anywhere at anytime, and low cost originals especially through a Diaguo. Another possible reason is that younger Chinese women are lazier than those older than them. It is probable that B2C will become one of the core channels to cosmetics, even high-end brands.

6. Shopping process: From relying on the sales staff’ to ‘choosing yourself’

Consumers now have more confidence in what to buy, but they are still heavily influenced by the product packaging.

In the ‘Autonomous buying’ era, the first thing to attract the consumer is the product packaging. Packaging materials, colours, shapes are ranked the top three elements that female Chinese consumers are most concerned about.

7. Consumers move from ‘passively accepting messages’ to ‘active participation in brand building’.Consumers are now part of the brand development process.

Lancôme ‘black bottle’ and Estee Lauder ‘red bottle’ are not the original names from the brand. Lancôme ‘black bottle’ is quite hard to pronounce for the Chinese, so consumers named it ‘black bottle’ and dropped Lancôme.

As a result, the company adopted the ‘black bottle’ as its official name, and subsequently created more products by using the black bottle concept maximising its value.

These seven phenomena reflect the four human needs of Chinese female consumers: the fear of losing something; needing a sense of security; pursuit of change; and a desire to express oneself.

The future for cosmetics in China

Makeup, male cosmetics, and cosmeceuticals are the future opportunities in China. Currently the make-up market in China is insufficiently developed, yet with the changing attitude towards make-up of women it will develop fast in the future.

Within the department stores of first-tier cities, demand for male cosmetics, such as perfume and personal care products have grown quickly in the last two years. Driven by internationally renowned brands that occupy a major share, the male market is expected to expand rapidly.

Whitening, anti-wrinkle, anti-aging creams and other cosmeceutical products are always in demand from Chinese consumers and as a result, a Safe, high quality cosmeceutical product has a good opportunity to enter China. The challenge will be finding a reliable and trustworthy distribution partner.


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