Part 1

Cosmeceuticals on the rise in China: What’s the appeal?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Cosmeceuticals on the rise in China: What’s the appeal?
Speaking at in-cosmetics Korea on 13th June 2018, Jessica Jin, Associate Beauty Director, at Mintel reveals the opportunities available for the Chinese cosmeceuticals market.

Despite its “diversified”​ and “fragmented”​ nature, Jessica Jin, Associate Beauty Director at Mintel explores why cosmeceuticals goods are proving increasingly attractive to Chinese shoppers.

Why cosmeceuticals?

Cosmeceuticals, formed from ‘cosmetics’ and ‘pharmaceuticals’, was influenced by Western shopping behaviours, where consumers when experiencing skin conditions would visit dermatologists to search and buy items. While this terminology is not officially recognised, Jin highlights that in the cosmetics industry, consumers will use it to relate to those items that have “medicinal and drug-like benefits”​.

“The term ‘cosmeceuticals’ really only started to gain momentum in China over the past few years, yet more and more beauty retailers are expanding their offerings to include cosmeceutical products in store,”​ explained Jessica Jin, Associate Beauty Director, at Mintel.

“Busier and more stressful lifestyles, as well as worsening environmental conditions, today, have created more concern around skin conditions among consumers who are looking for relative treatments as a result—and this is where cosmeceuticals come into the picture,​” added Jin.

Sitting between cosmetics and medicine, cosmeceuticals goods are recognised for their active ingredients and high performance compared to skin care products. They are also known for having fewer ingredients and for being free from pigments, preservative and fragrances.

Skin sensitivity and conditions

Combatting misconceptions, Jin went on to explain that cosmeceuticals are not only sold in pharmacies, they are not clinically tested and proven, and they are not labelled as cosmeceuticals because this is not regulated. Instead, brands state that their products are sensitive or free from.

Global intelligence agency, Mintel, found in its latest research that as many as 7 in 10 (69%) of consumers state that the daily use of cosmeceuticals can prevent skin sensitivity. Over two in five (44%) of those asked said that they only seek cosmeceuticals when they have certain skin care conditions, thus emphasising its link to dermatology and pharmaceuticals.

Commenting on the market opportunities this brings to Chinese cosmeceutical names, Jin relayed: "This spells good news for the Chinese cosmeceuticals market given the favourable potential for such products to be included in consumers’ daily skincare routines.”

Ingredient importance

“With more knowledge about and attention paid to ingredients and product safety, it is important for cosmeceuticals to highlight the efficacy of star ingredients.”

It is important that brands pay particular attention to the ingredients used in cosmeceuticals as Mintel revealed that up to three if four (74%) urban Chinese consumers agree that it is essential for cosmeceuticals to contain effective ingredients.

In addition, three in five of those asked (60%) believe less really is more and that cosmeceuticals formulated with fewer ingredients are safer.

“Consumer understanding of ingredients is currently at an all-time high,”​ Mintel stated in a recent press release.

Male and female usage

The gender gap is also small, with 56% of men purchasing facial masks with collagen in the last six months. These results are based on a study conducted in January 2018 after asking 651 male internet users aged 20-49 who used facial masks. , This indicates only a 2% difference when compared with females, with 58% of those asked doing the same.

There are a variety of other popular ingredients that have considerable penetrations rate among men, including essential oils (40% male vs 33% female), vitamin (34% male vs 32% female) and amino acid (32% male vs 35% female).

“It is surprising that males and females show minor differences in ingredient penetration,"​ Jin outlined.

However, it is important to note that once male consumers have been educated on a certain ingredient, they are more likely to take the next step and buy products.”

Offering guidance in-store is one way, for example, to help build awareness with male buyers.

The second part of this article exploring cosmeceutical popularity in China will be published on Tuesday 19th June 2018. 

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