Cleaning function invigorates Chinese facial mask sector

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Cleaning function invigorates Chinese facial mask sector
Global intelligence company, Mintel, relays how its latest research indicates an increase in usage in facials masks with a cleaning function in China.

Largely due to worries relating to air pollution and the rise in convenience, personalisation and premiumisation, Mintel’s new findings​ show that facial masks with a cleaning function are on the up.

Target audience

Females aged between 20-24 years old are most likely to use facial masks, according to its latest results, with over half (54%) of female shoppers investing in facial skin care products. This is compared to only 34% of females aged 40-49, emphasising the increased opportunities available for brands and marketing strategies that encourage younger females to purchase facial masks.

Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD)​ reveals that brands are now embracing this new trend. In 2016, 13% of new facial mask products launched contained a cleaning claim, with this figure increasing to 15% in 2017.

Air pollution concerns

Facial masks that contain cleansing properties are growing in popularity in the facial skin care sector, with 32% of urban Chinese consumers stating that their biggest concern is the impact of air pollution, Mintel stated in a recent press release. 

In addition, a total of 36% of those asked reveal that urban Chinese consumers have used facial masks with a cleaning function in 2017. This figure has jumped to 40% in 2018.

”Many consumers consider pollution as a main reason for skin damage, indicating that they are realising the importance of anti-pollution products,”​ commented Vicky Zhou, Beauty Research Analyst at Mintel.

“However, while we’ve seen some pioneering brands, mostly from overseas, educate consumers about the harmful effects of air pollution to the skin, and innovating with anti-pollution facial masks, local brands in China have yet to utilise the anti-pollution claim", ​Zhou observed.

Moving beyond the anti-pollution functional trend, brands can now turn their attention to facial products with a cleaning function. It provides them with an opportunity to “invest in ingredients to raise consumers’ awareness about anti-pollution products”​.

China's potential

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% in 2012-2017, China's facial mask segment outpaced the total facial skin care market over the same period, which has grown at 11.9%.

Chinese retail site, Tmall, is the most popular purchasing tool, accounting for almost 40% of total online sales. Favouring Asian brands, Pechoin, One Leaf and Unifon are the most popular brands amongst Chinese consumers. Early data research conducted in December 2017 found that Mintel research indicates that One Leaf, MG, Unifon, Mask Family and Pechoin make up the top five facial mask names based on values sales on Tmall.  

“While the facial mask category shows potential, it has not yet developed into a dominated market. Brands face fierce competition from domestic brands, cross-category brands and international brands.”

Sharing why online channels are a key purchasing channel, Zhou went on to say how they “not only help local brands win fans but also help international brands better connect with consumers. Moreover, we are seeing some niche brands use social media to target the Chinese market”​.  

Male grooming

Mintel confirms that male consumers are a captive audience when it comes to facial skin care ingredients including collagen and essential oils.  

As males are “becoming more and more involved in the beauty and personal care market, whether voluntarily or they are being encouraged by their spouses or friends”​, education and product development gear towards appealing to males through ingredient choice, product selection and marketing efforts.

Related topics: Market Trends, East Asia, Skin Care, China

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