We asked Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst of Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel to find out more about this new arriving trend and the impact it is set to have on the industry.
What are the hallmarks of C-beauty?
C-beauty plays in the digital beauty space. E-commerce and m-commerce serve as popular sales channels for consumers to purchase beauty products, particularly with their heavy usage.
Within brick and mortar stores, we are also seeing the use of virtual reality as well as augmented reality to enhance interaction, facilitate operations and amp up the overall shopping experience.
Internet celebrities (网红) are stirring a storm in the social media space, promoting beauty products to the point of developing their own brands, particularly by riding on their own popularity and a significant pool of followers who adore their fashion sense and style.
What has led to the emergence of C-beauty?
The diverse consumer groups across different geographical locations and income ceilings within China contributed to the emergence of C-beauty.
While it is easy to win the hearts of Chinese consumers, especially for premium brands, it is not easy to physically reach them. International brands, for instance, may not be accessible in stores found in lower-tier cities. On the flip side, local brands are better at establishing a strong retailing network in China.
As such, C-beauty has the opportunity to carve out its iconic presence and identity within the beauty industry. The Chinese beauty industry has escalated in recent years, taking inspiration from popular brands and products, and adapting them to cater to the needs and tastes of Chinese consumers.
This pans out a significant portion of the coverage and expansion of C-beauty. This is further strengthened with huge media exposure on both offline and online platforms spreading from celebrity endorsement, R&D facilitation and development, internet celebrities, and interactive offline and online stores.
What can brands do to harness its arrival?
The retailing network and the strategy used (both offline and online) is an area that brands need to keep an eye on, to continue to drive growth within their respective markets.
The creativity and coverage from local beauty players bring about several success stories that brands from outside of China can learn from.
How does C beauty differ from J and K beauty?
Judging from a market perspective, in China, global companies are taking the lead in the beauty market but the gaps within are quickly filling up by major local players who are quick to respond to market needs and reach out to consumers.
There is a significant difference in product offerings between higher and lower tier cities; there are more local and lower-priced brands in the lower tier cities in China, for instance.
Meanwhile, in Japan and Korea, local established companies the likes of LG, Amorepacific, Shiseido and KAO, are the ones dominating the market. We are seeing fewer small local players in the market.