China – Cosmetics importers and import trends in 2022

Cosmetics industry

As the world’s second-largest cosmetics consumer market in the world, besides the advantage of a massive population, mature consumer education, beauty consciousness, and an increasing disposable income per capita are what animates the phenomenal growth of the cosmetics segment in China.

Moreover, China’s appetite for cosmetics is of global flavor. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes as China`s beauty industry is dominated by international companies drawn to China`s long-term potential. At the same time, Chinese consumers are also drawn to imported beauty brands due to their recognition and innovative products.

Best prospects & market trends

Holistic beauty

Although the Chinese are aware of the trends and innovations in the industry, beauty consumers will remain faithful to the traditional holistic approach in terms of cosmetics. Consumers are no longer interested in mass-market products due to suspicions of counterfeited or faulty products.

Desire is growing towards organic and healthy cosmetics with natural and nutritional ingredients such as multipurpose natural oils or vitamins and other medicines for skin protection. New niche markets are also developing in cosmeceuticals and herbal cosmetics.

Extensive skincare routines

Imported skincare products sales indicate this segment is the fastest-growing on the market, for all ages, but especially for older generations. The demand in China’s skincare market stands in high-end products from international brands, as purchasing behavior is focused on quality, despite the price range.

For their flawless porcelain skin, the Chinese are very attentive and use multiple-step treatments daily, usually consisting of cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks, serums, lotions, face mists, and sometimes cosmetic tools. Consumer preference suggests the potential for products that whiten or even skin tone, sunscreens, and cosmeceuticals with various features such as acne treatment, and anti-aging prevention.

New care habits have been born due to sun exposure which has become a great concern for Chinese women daily. Sunscreen and aging prevention creams are in high demand throughout the entire year, with a preference for sensitive formulas for children, high SPFs, long-lasting effects, and convenient, easy to apply packages.

The men’s personal care sector presents strong continuous advancement, especially for skincare products like face cleansers, lotions, and creams. Most men are comfortable buying beauty products and caring for their appearance, especially in big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. The male beauty market is still in the emerging phases but possesses great potential. At this stage, men don`t possess as much knowledge as women and are willing to explore as the market progresses.

Makeup, far from being saturated

Just like their complex skincare practices, the Chinese are rapidly becoming more complex with their makeup routines. Sales of eye make-up products indicated significant growth in recent years. Eyeshadow is for example a top subcategory that gained momentum as colour cosmetics are a trend that started not long ago. Influenced by the rise of new aesthetic trends, cosmetic buyers are looking at makeup as a way of expressing their individuality. Purchase is not limited to famous brands, as consumers usually test different niche products for their specific needs.

A golden age for oral care

China indicates a golden age for the oral-care market. A growing number of citizens, especially the countryside population, are becoming more financially potent and aware of the importance of dental care and overall health and well-being. The trend in oral care is with products that are personalized for individual needs such as toothpaste helping with breath-freshening, sensitive care, whitening, and gum health.

Market overview & entry strategy tips

Women and the younger generation are the main drivers of makeup products. Successful brands are targeting the middle class of younger and older consumers with previous exposure to overseas environments or products.

Chinese cosmetics importers usually trust typical market players from Japan, South Korea, the UK, France, and the US, but in general, all foreign brands are outperforming local ones.

The major cities hold the majority of cosmetics sales in China, but the market growth is also largely influenced by the rising sales in the second and third-tier cities.

The offline distribution channel is still strong due to the solid presence of convenience stores, drugstores, supermarkets, department stores, and dedicated counters, plus specialized shops and spas for high-quality cosmetics.

At the same time, online penetration in China is the highest in the world. To be successful online you must be aware of your reputation and use social media to boost your reputation. Consumers are using their smartphones to research information and compare products. Be aware that China has its own platforms like Wechat or Weibo and consumers` choices can be affected by social media influencers.

Before exporting to China, you must understand the market demand and the customers` habits to determine if your products fit the market. Then, connecting to local reliable partners such as Chinese cosmetics importers or distributors that you can easily find on our platform, provide valuable information in all aspects.

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