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Cosmetics makers feel right at home in China

Cosmetics makers feel right at home in China

A view of the exhibition booth of Chinese skincare brand Proya during the 27th China Beauty Expo in Shanghai on May 12. CHINA DAILY

Domestic cosmetics brands, especially those featuring fashionable and creative designs mixed with elements from traditional Chinese culture, are gaining in popularity among Chinese consumers, with sales witnessing explosive growth on major e-commerce platforms, industry experts said.

Data from online retailer Vip-shop showed that turnover of domestic day cream brands grew 34 percent between Nov 1 and Dec 5, compared with the same period last year, while sales of domestic lipsticks and lip balms surged 110 percent and 45 percent year-on-year, respectively.

It is noteworthy that homegrown cosmetics products for men have seen rapid growth, with sales of such products among this demographic skyrocketing 3.5 times on a yearly basis over the period. Turnover of men’s eye care cosmetics rose 193 percent year-on-year and men’s lip balms jumped 77 percent year-on-year, Vipshop said.

The most popular domestic cosmetics and skincare brands include Winona, Carslan, Chando, Proya and Marubi. Meanwhile, new homegrown brands, such as Eve Charm, owned by a Guangzhou, Guangdong province-based cosmetics company, saw sales of its products jump 234 percent year-on-year on Vipshop.

Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-customer e-marketplace, said that in the first hour of this year’s Singles Day Shopping carnival, which kicked off at 8 pm on Oct 31, the turnover of Chinese skincare brand Proya topped the list among all beauty and makeup products.

Sales of Herborist, a brand under personal and home care products provider Shanghai Jahwa United Co Ltd, increased 315 percent year-on-year within the first hour, Tmall said. Turnover of more than 1,000 new domestic skincare brands also registered double-digit growth.

According to Tmall, more than 6,000 cosmetics brands have launched official flagship stores on its online marketplace in the past three years, of which homegrown brands account for about 80 percent.

In addition, online discounter PDD Holdings, parent company of e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, showed that the daily turnover of children’s face creams produced by Yumeijing, a Tianjin-based children’s skincare products maker, rose 230 percent year-on-year in September, while daily sales of Shanghai-based haircare brand Bee & Flower increased by some 50,000 orders.

Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at domestic consultancy Internet Economy Institute, said homegrown cosmetics brands are gaining in popularity among young Chinese consumers, especially the post-1990s and post-2000s generations, who have a growing sense of national pride and confidence in Chinese culture, along with the rapid development of the Chinese economy.

Chinese shoppers are not only looking for domestic cosmetics and clothing brands, but also every category covering time-honored brands and newly launched trendy brands, Mo said.

Global consulting firm AlixPartners said in a report that domestic consumers are increasingly looking for local alternatives with “more bang for the buck” as Chinese product quality and safety improve. In addition, apart from homegrown cosmetics brands, household products and foods are increasingly gaining traction among Chinese consumers.

Zhang Xiaoyu, an English teacher at a primary school in Beijing, said the first domestic cosmetics brand she bought was from Florasis, a Hangzhou, Zhejiang province-based company producing beauty and makeup products.

Zhang said she felt domestic makeup brands are more cost-effective and suitable for Asian people’s skin, compared with some well-known Western brands. “Their packaging design is exquisite, and they use some traditional Chinese cultural elements.”

During this year’s Nov 11 shopping spree, she bought homegrown eye shadow palette, loose powder and lipstick while watching livestreaming sessions on e-commerce platforms.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, a market research provider, said homegrown brands have stepped up efforts to invest more on research and development and improve the quality of products in recent years, which is different from past strategies that only put an emphasis on cost-effectiveness.

“These brands are continuously strengthening their technological innovation capacities and expanding their footprint in the high-end market,” Yu said, adding that brand owners should pool more resources into R&D to enhance product competitiveness, upgrade supply chain systems and improve shopping experiences, so as to cater to consumers’ diverse needs.