YASO is on the hunt for ambitious clean beauty brands exploring international growth opportunities.
Mainland China’s beauty and personal care market is one of the largest and fastest-growing globally, second only to the US. Just as elsewhere in the world, shifting consumer tastes are leading to an increased demand for “clean” products that emphasise sustainability and cruelty-free credentials. While still a relatively niche segment of the overall market, when combined with other prevailing trends (such as those outlined below), an exciting opportunity for foreign brands emerges.
Efficacy still trumps all else in the minds of many Chinese beauty shoppers. Communities of users on specialist review platforms relentlessly test and benchmark newcomers to the market, while “skintellectual” influencers gatekeep access to the most lucrative of opportunities. Brands must centre – and substantiate – messaging around functionality, focusing on the specific needs of the Chinese consumer.
Community-driven retail in the form of social commerce is about more than just selling through word-of-mouth. New marketing technologies in the form of AR-enabled virtual try-ons, AI influencers, livestreaming, and more are transforming the customer experience. Integrating across these touchpoints creates data-rich consumer profiles for deeper engagement and retargeting.
Future growth in the Chinese beauty market will be driven not by its traditional retail hubs in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, but rather by so-called Tier 2, 3 or even 4 cities as the country’s middle class expands. Similarly, younger Gen Z shoppers already account for a growing share of skincare spending, fuelling the rise of local Chinese brands in particular.