In the past few years, the Italian cosmetics maker has observed a shift in market demand from skin care into colour cosmetics in China.
For the past two years, lipsticks have been the top make-up product. However, its appetite for colour is driving the popularity of eyeshadow palettes.
“It used to be all about lipsticks, but now that everyone has so many, the consumer is looking for more colour to put on their face and they turning to eyeshadow palettes,” said Michelle Liu, strategic marketing director of Intercos China.
She explained: “They give the consumer the opportunity to create their own looks, there’s a DIY element to it. It’s a way to express themselves,”
She added that the Chinese consumer was still at the very beginning of their colour journey and are very willing to experiment with new textures and finishes, like mattes, shimmers and sparkles.
Anna Dato, make-up strategic marketing and account development VP of Asia added that the group has observed consumers moving away from warm colours like reds and oranges, and into cool colours such as teal.
“We are seeing a lot of ‘peacock’ colours, a lot of green. I think this was inspired by local period dramas like Story of Yanxi Palace, which played a lot on such muted colours.”
Tapping into local opportunities
Liu believes one of the driving factors of the make-up growth is the rise of Chinese e-commerce and WeChat brands, some of which have been focusing on make-up in a saturated skin care market.
The rising popularity of local brands continues to create opportunities for companies like Intercos, which is headquartered in Italy..
“Products that were ‘made-in-China’ did not use to be the first choice of local consumers. Now there is an acceptance. Local brands are rising in terms of value proposition and quality. The brands themselves are now asking for more innovation,” said Dato.
For instance, there is a demand for lipstick bullets in new shapes or with intricately embossed designs. “A lot of these brands are online, and they need to innovate this way if not, every lipstick on the page will look the same,” said Dato.
Liu added: “Chinese consumers now view ‘made-in-China’ brands very well because they are fast and trendy. In China, make-up is fast beauty. Every few months brands are coming up with new products in the form of new shades, formats… Even changing from glass bottles to other formats.”
This is where the company has an advantage, Liu believes.
“Not all international companies can move this fast. We can adapt very quickly with domestic brands. This is what we have been doing for 15 years now with four of our local factories.”