Personal care brands are set to experience a significant surge in popularity and growth in China in 2023! China’s personal care market saw an impressive 8% growth rate in 2022, surpassing the global growth rate with a total worth of nearly $100 billion, especially amidst the pandemic. As we kick off 2023, China has good news, as it announces the lifting of Covid restrictions following the peak of Covid cases in the country.
Chinese consumers, particularly those with young and individualistic mindsets, are increasingly concerned about investing in things that transform their lifestyles and make them healthier. The monthly consumer tracking survey conducted by Infotech between December 2022, and January 2023, revealed that 70% of respondents say the biggest concern in their lives today is “their own health or that of their family’s health,” reaching the highest level since the outbreak began.
In 2023, products and brands related to healthy lifestyles categories, particularly personal care brands, are projected to experience massive growth. There is no other time, unlike the present, for personal care brands to catch up with the wind and capitalize on the thriving market in China.
However, it is paramount for brands in the personal care market in China to stay up-to-date with the latest popular trends. This article explores how these current trends came to be, why brands need to act on them, and how they can fit into their marketing strategy.
Let’s take a look at these trends to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for 2023!
Trend #1 The Surge of Premiumization, Chinese Consumers Prefer Professional-grade Products
With the surge of premiumization, Chinese consumers are more willing to opt for higher-end products due to the rise in demand for quality and luxury. By 2022, the consumption-driven demand for high-quality products is estimated to exceed a total market size of over 10 trillion yuan.
Using the hair care market as an example.
Hair loss has become one of the top five national pressing health issues in recent years due to high-stress levels, unhealthy lifestyles, and late-night habits, escalating people’s demand and desire for hair care products addressing fine and thinning hair. As illustrated in the chart below, the hair care products in the high-end price band from Tmall International are rapidly increasing in terms of turnover. When selecting a hair care brand, the consumption of “salon-level” hair care brands shows an increasing year-on-year trend. Consumers are more willing to choose professional brands to promote a healthy scalp and excellent hair quality through repair, hydration, and hair growth.
Step By Step Regimen Using Olaplex’s 8 Products, Source: Taobao
OLAPLEX is a high-end American hair care brand hailed as “liquid gold,” offering repairing and renewal benefits to customers, instantly visible from the first use. It has gained global recognition and is available in hundreds of thousands of hair salons in over 80 countries. Moreover, due to the highly targeted, complementary nature of each of its products, consumers often tend to use multiple products in the same range simultaneously, resulting in a strong positive cascading sales effect between products. By riding on such an effective marketing strategy, it became the number-one top-selling hair care brand in terms of sales in the highly competitive Double 11, generating a revenue of $176.5 million in Q3 2022.
How Brands Can Tap Into This Trend
What brands learn from this lesson is to promote their products with a focus on building a “salon-level” brand image and showcasing the professional benefits of their products in their marketing efforts.
Efficient utilization of Internet traffic advantages and leveraging the resources of influential celebrities, KOL, and KOC is vital.
Brands can first invite celebrities to serve as brand ambassadors and enter into deeper partnerships to give play to the celebrity effect, boost brand recognition, increase product exposure, and help transfer the fans’ admiration and loyalty to the celebrity to trust in the brand and its products.
Subsequently, the KOL+KOC strategy can also be used to test and evaluate KONO’s salon-grade hair care brand through professional insights from KOLs, and real user experience from KOCs to further enrich consumers’ impressions of the brand. Creating quality products and actively promoting the brand will help build a positive brand reputation.
Trend #2 Products With Ingredients As Selling Points Are More Likely To Become Hot
The 2022 Ingredient Trends Insights Report, jointly published by MacroMath and Ipsos, revealed that products that emphasize their key ingredients as their core selling point are more likely to be the next big trend and become hot-selling products. In recent years, consumers have become more informed about ingredients, and they will “research” them and choose products via social media before making purchasing decisions. As a result, many brands promote their products by focusing on core ingredients and main efficacy in their marketing strategies.
Using the body care market as an example.
In the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the way more and more consumers pay attention to body care. They have a deeper understanding of skin washing and care and seek products and treatments offering a wider range of benefits. In addition to basic skin practices like moisturizing and cleansing, they are interested in advanced skincare treatments that provide additional benefits, such as stabilization, whitening, rejuvenation, and even relief from sub-health conditions and other more diversified claims.
Some of the ingredients originally used in facial skin care products and cosmetics, such as niacinamide, fruit acids, etc., are also being incorporated into body care products. This trend towards comprehensive body care is unstoppable and reflects a growing awareness that the skin on the entire body deserves the same level of attention and care as the skin on the face.
Consumers demand a range of ingredients, where moisturizing and whitening are still the basic needs, while “anti-aging” is the most sought-after component of the ingredient party. Anti-aging fever has been on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In the first half of 2022, sales of anti-aging skin care products on fast-selling platforms exceeded 10 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 189%, with the high-end line increasing by 270% and the mass line soaring by 147%. Discussions surrounding anti-aging have been rising among customers, indicating that the anti-aging trend is shifting towards preventative aging and becoming popular among lower age groups and young demographics, suggesting a huge market potential to be tapped in the anti-aging industry.
Lubriderm, the 76-year-old national professional body lotion brand owned by Johnson & Johnson, has over the past year seen considerable growth, experiencing a six-fold increase inTmall International sales owing to its best-selling single products containing fruit acids and A-alcohol, compared to when it first entered the market. It has over 3,700 related notes on RED and is ranked in the Top 3 of Tmall’s body lotion consumption list. This is precisely due to its success in capturing the consumer demand for anti-aging body skin.
Source: RED & Taobao
How Brands Can Tap Into This Trend
The significance of using the right ingredients in skincare products is self-explanatory. After launching products with strong efficacy ingredients, brands should learn to leverage these active ingredients as a marketing communication point. Simply put, brands tell brand stories through ingredients creating a strong binding impression between the ingredients and the brand. As the body lotion in this case did, when people mention A-alcohol body lotion, the first thing that comes to mind is the Lubriderm brand.
Likewise, brands need to realize that along with consumer upgrading, consumers must stay current with skincare concepts that are constantly updating, from “brush acid anti-aging” to “using oil to nourish the skin.” Paying close attention to consumer dynamics on social media is a crucial means of capturing market share and remaining competitive. In order to seize the market opportunity, brands need to have deep consumer insight and grasp or even create trends in this segment for product marketing.
Trend #3 Good Product Design And Portability Attract Younger Consumers
According to the Douyin report released in 2022 on the subject of packaging upgrades, consumers are most concerned about aesthetics, followed by portability. Young customers are more likely to be drawn to visually appealing, novel, intriguing, and unique products with the added benefit of portability.
Using the oral care market as an example.
The online oral care market is rapidly booming, triggering an increased potential for oral care consumption. Consumers are primarily interested in core requirements like fresh breath, whitening, and stain removal when shopping for oral care products. At the same time, portable oral care products are experiencing a rapid increase in popularity. Among them, portable mouthwash has seen impressive growth in consumption, boasting a remarkable 200% increase.
In such a highly competitive market, the focus of differentiation for up-and-coming oral care brands is shifting to packaging to stand out in the crowd. Recent search trends indicate that the phrase “good-looking package” is climbing in popularity, with more than 50% of consumers, especially those in Generation Z, using it when searching for oral care products.
BOP’s portable mouthwash and oral spray, Source: BOP
BOP is an up-and-coming brand in China’s oral care industry, boasting of its number-one selling mouthwash in the country and cumulative sales surpassing 100 million strips. Another one of its in-demand products is its mouth spray, where it’s outer packaging, cleverly designed to resemble lipstick, features a leopard print or candy-colored decoration on the exterior with an embedded transparent bottle that can be altered to suit customer preferences while being compact and portable. In terms of design, BOP has also collaborated with Chibi Maruko Chan and launched a series of co-branded products with unique designs.
How Brands Can Tap Into This Trend
New-entry brands looking to break into the market must make efforts in product development and marketing. On the one hand, to expand market reach, begin by creating compelling product packaging. Brands that create popular products often use IP co-branding, an effective strategy when designing packaging for their products, which allows them to leverage external forces to break through the target circle, gain exposure, reach a wider audience, and acquire new customers. Emerging oral care brands try to make their packaging creative and good-looking to cater to the younger generation of consumers’ pursuit of beauty, setting themselves apart from established brands and visually capturing the hearts of consumers.
On the flip side, portability should be strongly promoted when marketing. When it comes to short video content marketing on social media platforms, creating a sense of immersion through relatable scenes, such as young people on a date needing portable mouthwash, can trigger user empathy, thereby leading to users placing orders.
In 2023, the Personal Care market in China is expected to generate $25.52 billion in revenue. The market is expected to grow by 5.41% per year (CAGR 2023-2027). The fast-growing personal care market is attracting more brands, and the personal care product category is constantly being refined, with many unique opportunities along the way.
Looking ahead to 2023, this is a preview of three trends that Alarice analysts believe will impact consumer demands for personal care in 2023. The specific and bold trends explore how personal care consumers are attracted to premiumisation, effective ingredients and good looking portable products and brands. However, consumers and competitors are evolving as the market develops, so you need more detailed trend watching and in-depth consumer research.
Alarice can help you plan your marketing campaign and manage your content for a successful 2023 in China. We specialize in Chinese digital marketing, trend analysis, and market analytics at Alarice to ensure that your brand is in sync with Chinese customers. We improve the engagement and effectiveness of your campaigns and content. For additional information, contact us!