China’s color cosmetics market is in a state of flux, with change being driven by the new generation of ‘post-nineties’ kids — in other words, young Millennials (those born between 1990 and 2000).

In the coming years, China’s young Millennials will continue to gradually gain economic independence. As such, this rising generation is quickly becoming a core target for the colour cosmetics market.

Click or brick?

Online retail has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, however, younger consumers remain intrigued by the offline experience. As many as three in four females in China aged between 20 and 24 say that they buy from brick-and-mortar stores because of the product trials made available, according to Mintel research.

In light of Millennials undying love for the offline shopping experience, an increasing number of brands are working to invigorate the offline experience, particularly in the realm of colour cosmetics.

Brands will need to look deeper into the habits and lifestyles of the post-90’s Chinese consumer, and should embrace the opportunity to offer unique retail experiences through initiatives like pop-up stores, online-to-offline, and high-tech in-store equipment, for instance.

Targeting China’s young Millennial population

Despite a high penetration rate where the majority of females aged between 20 to 24 say they have used colour cosmetics products, the frequency at which they use makeup remains relatively low. Indeed, Mintel research reveals that only 37% of Chinese females aged between 20 to 24 do their makeup every day, or almost every day.

Brands need to be aware that this generation of young consumers have developed their own specific needs when it comes to colour cosmetics. In fact, Chinese Millennials look for beauty items that have a natural finish, and are convenient and easy-to-use.

In targeting these younger consumers and differentiating themselves from the competition, brands need to emphasise a product’s suitability for use on young skin, as well as incorporate the use of a simple formulation and ingredient list. Additionally, brands need to effectively communicate the convenience and ease-of-use of their products.

Finally, when it comes to the colour wheel of cosmetics, reports have shown that ‘nude’ styles are preferred among young urban Chinese. Through a strategic mix of celebrity endorsements, savvy social media use, and experiential in-store solutions, there is an opportunity for brands to drive consumer engagement and encourage consumers to broaden their makeup styles.

Laurie Du is a Senior Beauty Analyst, Asia Pacific, based in Mintel’s Shanghai office. With a long career in BPC market research, Laurie has worked with brands including Shanghai Jawha, L’Oréal, Kao and Amore Pacific, giving her a unique perspective of the Chinese market, its key players, consumer behavioural trends and new product development.

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