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Opportunities for South African Skincare Products in China Market

The skincare market in China offers vast opportunities, with growth rates outpacing the overall cosmetics market. According to Ai Media Intelligence data, in 2021, the market size of the cosmetics industry in China reached 455.3 billion RMB, with the skincare market accounting for 230.8 billion RMB, representing 50.7% of the overall cosmetics market. It is projected that by 2025, the cosmetics market in China will reach around 579.1 billion RMB, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2% from 2021 to 2025. The skincare market is expected to reach 318.6 billion RMB by 2025, with a CAGR of 8.4% from 2021 to 2025, indicating a faster growth rate than the overall cosmetics market. Additionally, the makeup market is expected to reach 70.3 billion RMB by 2025, with a CAGR of 11.9% from 2021 to 2025, showing faster growth than both the skincare industry and the overall cosmetics industry.

Trend Exploration

Trend 1: Pure Skincare: Consumers are increasingly prioritizing products that are healthy, environmentally friendly, and safe.
The concept of pure beauty originated in Europe and the United States, with “non-toxic, harmless, and cruelty-free” as its core, aiming to provide consumers with safer and more environmentally friendly products. With frequent issues such as sensitive skin and unstable skin conditions, consumers are placing greater emphasis on healthy, environmentally friendly, and safe products, making pure beauty a popular trend.

According to the “Guidelines for Pure Beauty Cosmetics” released by the Guangdong Cosmetics Association, pure beauty cosmetics require raw materials to avoid using substances with potential risks as formula components, and harmful substances must not be introduced into cosmetics during production. Additionally, the formula ingredients must be transparently disclosed, and packaging materials should meet requirements for recyclability or biodegradability.

Trend 2: Efficacy-driven: Consumers purchasing skincare and beauty products focus on results-oriented approaches, with efficacy evaluations and personal experiences being the primary factors in product selection.
Choosing credible evaluations to demonstrate effectiveness is more likely to gain consumer acceptance. For example, the Perlier Double Defense Serum is certified for effectiveness by the Swiss SGC testing agency. 32 subjects monitored usage effects over 28 days. Endorsements from authoritative sources, detailed data, and reliable information are more likely to gain consumer acceptance. Influenced by new skincare concepts, younger demographics focus more on sunscreen and repair functionalities in skincare and beauty products.

Trend 3: Ingredients Rule: Consumers have a better understanding of the ingredients in skincare and beauty products, with star ingredients becoming important marketing points.
Among these, star ingredients play a crucial role in marketing. Natural plant extracts provide consumers with a sense of safety. Popular botanical extracts such as rose, cherry blossom, centella asiatica, camellia, and perilla are in demand. Rare plant extracts, such as reishi mushroom and black truffle, give consumers a sense of high-end sophistication, serving as important selling points for products and brands. Core ingredients with strong efficacy are more attractive to consumers. Consumers are sensitive to additives, making products emphasizing high-dose single star ingredients more likely to gain market acceptance. Among the top 5 high-efficiency ingredients in social media mentions: retinol, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and niacinamide.

Trend 4: Emotional Experience: The scent of skincare products plays a significant role in purchasing, usage, and repurchase, providing pleasant olfactory experiences in different scenarios.
Scent experience is the “first impression” of skincare product trials, leaving a lasting impression. Products that provide enjoyable and relaxing experiences are more likely to drive purchases. Fragrances can provide pleasant and relaxing sensory experiences during skincare routines. The scent of morning face creams is expected to uplift spirits, while the scent of evening creams is expected to be soothing and relaxing. Poor scent experiences can significantly affect repurchase rates, and even lead to abandonment during usage. Over the past three years, amid the uncertainties of the pandemic, consumers are in need of emotional comfort. Products with “healing” emotions have surged in popularity on social media platforms. For example, in the past year, emotional beauty skincare videos on Bilibili increased by 844% year-on-year.

Brand Marketing

Analyzing the top 100 marketing campaigns in the industry, we observe three trends in brand marketing for native skincare products.
The first trend is crowd-oriented marketing, targeting specific demographics based on insights into their characteristics and pain points, using targeted communication methods such as public welfare initiatives to enhance consumer resonance.
The second trend is to enhance trend attributes. Domestic brands are faced with the challenge of how to enhance their trendiness and make their brands more youthful. Therefore, upgrading strategies such as celebrity marketing, circle marketing, trend variety shows, artists and musicians, and IP cooperation have become common practices for many brands.
The third trend is to enhance the brand’s professionalism through marketing. Starting from ingredients, technology, and efficacy, showcasing the brand’s professional strength and real effects to enhance brand professionalism and technology, reshaping the brand’s connotation.

South African skincare and cosmetics products may have natural, organic, or special formulations, potentially finding consumers in the Chinese market who appreciate their unique ingredients or special effects.