Three trends in cosmetics are catching the eyes of China’s young generation

April 11, 2019
3 min read

According to Mintel research, the beauty and personal care market has been one of the fastest-growing sectors in China over the last years, benefitting from an increasingly engaged consumer base. With specific trends driving increased engagement, young female consumers today are spending more time and money on the beauty and personal care category and more active than the older generation.

At the recent 2019 edition of MakeUp in Shanghai, we uncovered three trends that are transforming the cosmetics purchasing behaviour of China’s young generation.


Beauty consumers in China are expanding the range of colour cosmetics products that they use to include brands from outside of China. For example, Mintel research shows that young consumers turn to Korean beauty brands for face cosmetics, European brands for lip products and Japanese brands for eye products.

In addition, they have distinct needs for multi-functional cosmetics products as they have more skin conditions like enlarged pores and acne. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), there is a growing number of base makeup products with skincare claims in the market. Skincare brands are also riding this trend by launching base makeup products with skincare benefits.

Winona Perfect Soothe BB Cushion, China
The product includes various plant extracts that claim to protect skin against environmental aggressors, calm irritation of sensitive skin, regulate the oil-water balance of skin, repair the skin barrier and maintain a healthy condition.


Minimalisation is a concept that has been the talk of the town in recent years. Consumers today are pursuing colour cosmetics products that come in smaller packaging or are effortless in their application. For example, brands are launching lipstick kits with various colours in smaller packaging, a concept that aligns with Mintel research which indicates that trying new colours is important for Chinese young consumers when buying new lipsticks. Effortless makeup is another area that brands can tap into. Mintel research reveals that more than half of consumers aged 20-29 say that they don’t have very good eye makeup skills and that it takes too much time to put on eye makeup every day. Therefore, for this group, easy-to-use products are important and appealing.

M.A.C Shiny Pretty Things Collection, China
This M.A.C lip kit contains 10 mini lipstick products in different shades.

16 Brand 16 Eye Magazine, South Korea
This product is described as an eyeshadow that enables quick, easy eye makeup with two-toned blending shadow.


In this digitised era, beauty bloggers have gathered great influence over young consumers. Today’s consumers are looking for products that are worth buying and industry secrets and tips; therefore, when communicating with consumers, brands can look into providing industry secrets or backstage makeup products to appeal to and engage with this demographic.

Technology is also something that beauty brands can look into incorporating in their marketing strategies. In fact, VR interaction and AR makeup trial in offline cosmetics stores are among some of the initiatives that Chinese consumers have experienced, according to Mintel research, showcasing potential in this area in the coming years.

Tmall AI Mirror ‘Genie Queen’, China (Source: Tmall Beauty Awards)
This 8-inch mirror is said to be able to respond to voice commands, while also being able to auto-adjust its lighting for make-up application, recreating various effects including dimly lit party environments or natural sunlight calculated from real-time weather conditions.

Vicky Zhou
Vicky Zhou

Vicky Zhou is a Research Analyst for Mintel China Reports, specialising in the Beauty and Personal Care industry.

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