There is strong consensus across China that using make-up is a useful technique to boost confidence, and at the same time, show respect for others. It seems that this is particularly true of lip colour as new Mintel research reveals that the category has received increased attention in recent years claiming 22% of the total market value in 2016, compared to 15% in 2014. Today, as lipstick usage is nearly universal in China, with 95% of urban Chinese female consumers having used lipstick/lip gloss in the past six months, it is also considered to be the most important colour cosmetic product among urban Chinese women (63%) (when limited to applying up to three types of make-up). Following lipstick/lip gloss, female consumers prioritise BB/CC cream (49%), foundation (41%) and eyebrow definer (39%).

Six in 10 (62%) urban Chinese women claim they wear make-up almost every day, up from 38% of surveyed women who said the same in 2016. Despite this increase in daily make-up usage, Mintel research reveals that minimising the number of steps in the make-up regime is the desire of 67% of respondents, compared to 30% who want one product for each step of their make-up routine. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), only 4.3% of multi-use colour cosmetics launches took place in China in 2016, compared to 7.8% in South Korea, 8.7% in Japan, 10.5% in the UK and 11.2% in the US.

When it comes to influencing the purchase decision, on average, urban Chinese female consumers are impacted by 3.6 influencers when they are buying colour cosmetics, higher than the 3.1 for facial skin care products. Beauty ‘blogebrities’ (41%), celebrities (37%) and online celebrities (25%) are playing important roles in influencing consumers’ purchase decisions in the colour cosmetics sector, ranking after family members/friends (64%) and cosmetics store staff/beauty assistants (41%).

Jessica Jin, Associate Beauty Director at Mintel, said:

“Urban Chinese consumers consider lipstick/lip gloss the most important colour cosmetic products for every occasion and each type of desired make-up look. Our research shows that lipstick is considered to be the most essential cosmetic product by consumers who pay more attention to base make-up results and among those who prioritise point make-up results. When choosing colour cosmetics products, we now can’t ignore the power of KOL, beauty ‘blogebrities’ and celebrities, although consumers still love to get recommendations from family members and friends. We see an opportunity for brands to dig deeper into multi-use products as the majority of consumers are interested in minimising the steps in their make-up rountine.”

China’s colour cosmetics market is experiencing stable growth, and Mintel estimates that between 2017-22, the market will grow at a value CAGR of 10.2% and achieve RMB 49,662 million by 2022. Consumers’ attitude towards colour cosmetics is the key driver of category growth. Specifically, 80% of urban Chinese female consumers treat colour cosmetics as a self-rewarding or pampering product.

Meanwhile, Chinese consumers are showing more love to Chinese beauty brands. Mintel research reveals that Chinese brands are the most often used colour cosmetics, selected by over 25% of make-up wearers across sub-categories. Chinese brands are only slightly more popular than South Korean brands for female face make-up consumers, but the gaps increase for eye colour make-up, lip colour make-up and nail care products.

“In recent years, we have seen the growth of Chinese brands, not only in the colour cosmetics category, but across beauty and personal care categories. What Chinese brands are selling is not patriotism, but rather increasing product quality and inherited brand equity and technology. Brands should leverage quick innovations with affordable prices and provide as many kinds of make-up options as they can in order to attract younger consumers in their 20s who are still in the early stages of finding the most suitable make-up look.” Jessica continued.

Mintel research highlights that the ‘natural’ and ‘make-up-free’ beauty trends are now popular among Chinese colour cosmetics consumers. In fact, women’s ideal make-up look centres on ‘natural’ (41%), followed by ‘fresh’ (17%), ‘light make-up’ (12%), and ‘nude make-up/no make-up’ (12%), indicating a clear desire for good, healthy skin condition. This is especially true among women aged 20-24 who have a much stronger desire for a fresh-face look.

“It is easy to see that ‘natural’ and good, healthy looking skin are currently the big trends in make-up, surpassing the general goal of being ‘beautiful’. Brands targeting the younger generation should strengthen the infusion of fresh sensation in product texture in order to meet the needs of this key consumer demographic.” Jessica concludes.

*Colour Cosmetics China 2017 report is based on 3,000 internet female users in tier 1-3 cities aged 20-49; survey conducted April 2017

Press copies of Mintel’s Colour Cosmetics China 2017 report and interviews with Jessica Jin, Associate Beauty Director at Mintel are available on request from the press office.

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