exclusive interview

The Convenience Factor part II: Creating the new retail era

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

new retail era in China

Related tags Online shopping Retailing

With convenience hot on the list of priorities dominating consumer decision making, we spoke to Matthew Crabbe, Director of Research, Asia-Pacific at Mintel on how we can expect this to impact the beauty and personal care industry.

Competing channels

Brands are diversifying where they place their beauty and personal care items. Many are opting for e-commerce stores on their own website, opening a digital shop on large marketplaces such as Alibaba, innovative temporary pop-up retailers and permanent physical stores.

Commenting on the current balance between online and offline beauty and personal care purchasing in China, Matthew Crabbe, Director of Research, Asia-Pacific at Mintel shared: “According to Mintel research, online spend for beauty and healthcare products is high, with online per capita spend at about three quarters.”

When it comes to the digital retail space, “consumers are highly appreciative of the competitive prices in online stores, explaining the continuous growth of online channels”.

What convenience means to shoppers

In China, the emphasis is on convenient cosmetics. This preference means that “people are able to find and buy what they want more easily online, and will not consider the experience of shopping in-store as important”.

Today’s beauty and personal care brands need to optimise the convenience of the in-store or pop-up shop experience to compete with the convenience of e-commerce shopping.

“Convenience stores either have to create more of an experience about the process of buying in-store, or offer the benefits of e-commerce shopping—wide variety of choices, competitive prices and the convenience of home delivery, for example,”​ added Crabbe.

Appealing to all

The demand and need for convenience appeal to all demographics as it suits the busy lifestyles and nature of decision-making amongst consumers in China.

Stores should raise their ‘convenience factor’ in the future, both to improve consumer enjoyment, and to counter –  or integrate –  the rising demand among consumers for online shopping and delivery services,”​ Crabbe continued.

In China, there are multiple demographics in the cosmetics sphere, rather than one single demographic:“Consumers of all ages seek convenience when making purchases, but with different considerations in mind,” ​Crabbe claimed.

With convenience becoming a mainstream and popular demand that is being met by brands, “convenience is no longer a differentiating factor for convenience stores, especially as both online and offline channels have strong convenience aspects”​.

The third part of this interview, which will look at variations between demographics and how this impacts marketing campaigns, will be published on Monday 14th August.

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