iGeneration: The new colour cosmetics dynamic

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

iGeneration in colour cosmetics

Related tags Colour cosmetics Cosmetics China

Young Millennials — known as the iGeneration — are creating a shift in the Chinese colour cosmetics market, leading brands to reform their ideas surrounding innovation.

What’s next?

As this latest generation is reaching adulthood and is attaining financial independence, the colour cosmetics area is placing its attention of developing new and inventive formulations, product launches and marketing messages that appeal to this core target market.

UK-housed intelligence provider, Mintel, shows that despite the rise of online profiles, marketplaces and promotional applications and techniques over the last few years, these new Millennials, known as the iGeneration, are curious about accessing the offline shopping method.

In fact, 75% of Chinese females between 20-24 years of age buy from physical stores as a result of newly-available products trials, Mintel research revealed.

The power of O2O

To create an effective brick-and-mortar model that resonates with these new Millennials, brands will need to explore their “habits and lifestyles”​ to ensure they offer on-trend and “unique retail experiences through initiatives like pop-up stores, online-to-offline, and high-tech in-store equipment, for instance,”​ Mintel stated.

Of those asked, 96% of females aged between 20-24 stated that they had used colour cosmetics products over the past six months.

Popularity and usage

Despite these figures, at present, the identified female 20-24 year old demographic on the whole uses colour cosmetics infrequently, with only 37% of these consumers applying make up daily, or nearly every day.

It is, therefore, necessary for brands to innovate formulation selections and campaigns to match what this demographic and the new Millennials crave.

Keeping up with trends

Today, “Chinese Millennials look for beauty items that have a natural finish, and are convenient and easy-to-use”.​ Simple formulations, transparent ingredient lists and optimum suitability for young skin are required to complement skin care needs. These must be present and accurately communicated to target audiences to differentiate within the market and carve out a competitive edge.

With convenience proving a strong factor in purchasing decisions in China​, brands that actively promote both the convenience of their product selections and easy-to-use applications, are likely to raise their profiles rapidly in the APAC region.

Young urban Chinese consumers are also self-selecting ‘nude’ styles over bold and bright colours. China's leading search engine, Baidu, revealed that 'nude' received the highest number of searches within the make up finish segment period between 2016 and April 2017.

Online investments

By combining digital methods including celebrity endorsements and creative social media campaigns, along with offline store solutions, brands can increase engagement, loyalty and encourage shoppers to experiment with various make up styles.

'It Girl' Zhang Da Yi promotes cosmetics name, Maybelline's Tattoo Liner, in a bid to appeal to a younger target audience who prefer to have different styles for a variety of events.

Laurie Du, a Senior Beauty Analyst, Asia Pacific at Mintel conducted a report on how the younger generation is reshaping make up in China. In the report, Du emphasised how implemented features must be highlighted "in promotional and on-pack materials”.

Healthy beauty impact

It also detailed how data released by CBN & Tmall indicates how 'post-90's' consumers account for 51% of China’s total online shopping population ("at least for Tmall"​). In addition, this population accounts for 49% of the beauty industry’s total retail value.

Health and beauty online shop, Watsons, also anticipates that the post-90's demographic will make up 44% of the e-commerce name's total shop traffic by 2018. The brand’s new concept store incorporates advanced technology including augmented reality make-up trialling and features imported colour cosmetics products hailing from Japan and South Korea to boost popularity and sales.

Concept stores are proving a formidable option for brands looking to evolve their in-store appeal. L’Oréal Paris has opened three new concept stores in China, with each one housing a professional make up artist to share knowledge with consumers.

Modern marketing methods

Loyalty schemes and other incentives are a common technique used by brands to bridge the online-to-offline (O2O) commerce gap. Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser, for example, gives an e-coupon to consumers to encourage website users to engage in their physical stores in a bid to revitalise brick-and-mortar shopping.

Cosmetic buys that cross the hybridisation trend are attractive to the iGeneration crowd too. Innisfree Essential Easy Cover Stick is one such brand forging a successful reputation in this arena, with its dual-ended stick that can be used as both a concealer and foundation.

Along with various usage, some products also offer multiple benefits. REC Prime Time Lip & Eye Primer, for instance, works as both a primer for lips and eyes, and uses shea butter to disguise fine lines and simultaneously hydrate the skin.

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more



Beauty 4.0 Podcast