Iconic perfumes like Chanel N°5 or Dior J’Adore have dominated China’s perfume market for decades. It is a fact that top luxury foreign brands are still favored by the majority of perfume-loving Chinese customers.
Yet, with the recent shift in consumer tastes, we see that Chinese consumers are more interested in the unique scents of China. They are willing to experiment with little-known brands. The new generation of Chinese customers has an appetite to discover and try new things. This shift in consumer taste opens up opportunities for businesses; both foreign and local.
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Gen-Z: The new generation shapes the Chinese market
There’s no doubt that present-day Gen-Z consumers are interested in high-end living styles. Their sense of taste has changed as they began to use fragrances in their day-to-day lives. They prefer more attractive, contemporary, and intriguing scents than the monotonous Chanel no 5 worn by their mothers. Perfumes are viewed as a means for these young Chinese people to express their individuality.
Seeking out unique scents that reflect their personality and lifestyle, bold and adventurous Gen Z consumers have created opportunities for niche perfume brands. Especially for the new brands who wish to carve out a place in the Chinese market.
Entering China’s perfume Market can be complex.
A lack of awareness about fragrance has made it difficult for companies to break into the Chinese market.
It has also opened the door for new firms to gain ground and cultivate followings among consumers who are unfamiliar with fragrance.
Brands that localize their products win Chinese consumers.
Chinese consumers tend to be more conservative when it comes to fragrance than their Western counterparts. This creates a challenge for foreign brands.
In a 2019 article, Jing Daily noted that exported Western fragrances might be seen as too strong or even ” too powerful” by Chinese standards. Local brands, seeing the opportunity, developed more light and delicate scents. That way they managed to win the hearts of the Chinese consumers.
Unique scents of China
The Gen Z in China is the new generation who freely mixes and matches a Chanel bag with high-top Converse shoes, favoring high-end Western brands while searching for their unique scents of China. Brands that study the latest trends among The Gen Z, are the ones who foresee the biggest market opportunities. That way they identify potential successes early on.
To be successful in China’s Multi-Billion-Dollar perfume Market, brands must work to build up their Chinese audiences. They must tailor their products directly to these customers.
For instance, Swiss brand Givaudan, a leading company in the global flavor and fragrance industry, has partnered up with Tmall. Together they develop perfumes that would be popular among Chinese consumers. Givaudan has also established a digital team located in China. So that it can exploit any potential market opportunities.
From an industry standpoint, things are on the move. When it comes to developing fragrances, Givaudan uses China-based companies. Armani , inspired by Suzhou’s ancient gardens, releases the scent Prive Pivoine Suzhou. Chooses peony as the signature for China’s Venice of the East, symbolizing prosperity, respect, and completion.
Brands, reading the new generations’ desires are already mastering their craft. They are mixing the ingredients derived from the country’s herbalist culture. Black tea with jasmine, Ganoderma with green tea, ginkgo, ginger, ginseng, magnolia, and Chrysanthemum. These specific ingredients have strong emotional power on Chinese consumers and they associate them with ancient local symbols of China.
Consequently, more brands are expected to incorporate Chinese culture and local consumer preferences into their items to win the hearts of Chinese perfume lovers.
Digital channels: A direct path to Chinese customers
Digital platforms are gaining favor as a means for perfume discovery and sales in China. These platforms provide foreign brands with a direct path to Chinese consumers. Which means no need to establish a traditional offline store anymore.
Nowadays the majority of Chinese customers use their mobile phones to find out information. They search for brands, reviews from former buyers, and their favorite KOLs’ opinions. A digital presence is key for foreign perfume brands planning to enter the market. Not only is it cost-effective, but it will reach the widest audience possible.
How can your Perfume Brand enter the Chinese E-commerce Market?
For Chinese customers, brands’ presence on trustworthy e-commerce websites is a must. They would not take chances with random websites with no reputation.
The following E-commerce websites are not just reputable and trusted. They also have a high market share and are favored among other international brands. Entering the Chinese E-commerce market can be difficult. Due to cultural obstacles, language, and strict E-commerce platforms policies. Fortunately, GMA can assist international brands in how to enter and find success in China’s Multi-Billion-Dollar perfume Market.
T-mall – the Chinese largest e-commerce platform
T-mall, the Chinese biggest e-commerce platform, is also the most reputable. It is the league for premium brands and has an invitation-only policy. Only qualified foreign brands are allowed in. If you have no invitation then application through a local digital marketing agency is the best option.
Specializing in luxury brands distinguishes Tmall as China’s most costly E-commerce marketplace. It allows foreign companies to establish their online shops. They can sell products directly to Chinese consumers. No need to go through a third party or have to be physically in China.
T-mall is a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group. It also owns the well-known Alibaba.com. China’s largest online business-to-business, B2B trading platform.
Being the most popular online shopping website in China, T-mall is also the country’s largest platform for brands and retailers. According to iResearch, as of Q3 2019, Tmall had a market share of 58% in China’s Business-to-Consumer market.
JD.com – All inclusive E-commerce platform
For an international company looking to expand into China, JD.com is among the best options. They are less expensive than their competitor Tmall. Plus brand consultation, marketing, logistics–you name it–are all included in their services package. All you have to do is to craft a unique product and sell it. Counterfeits will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Only products with passed quality control standards will be allowed onto the site; JD takes care of the rest. JD.com is a great partner for sales and marketing support. They actively promote your brands on their site and through their social media channels.
WeChat store: China’s Marketplace.
Everyone in China knows that WeChat is a part of our lives. WeChat is a major component of Chinese consumers’ daily routines. It’s an all-in-one software that connects social media with e-commerce. WeChat store provides foreign brands with a variety of options for connecting with Chinese customers. Branding, advertising, and simple payment methods are just a few of the possibilities available to brands. In China, WeChat may be utilized as a strong and effective online marketing tool with its over 1.2 billion users.
Xiaohongshu: Best place to promote your brand
Xiaohongshu, “Little Red Book (RED)” in English is a great place for international brands to promote their brand. RED was created as user-generated content back in 2013 and now it has more than 300 million registered users, as of July 2019. The app is available in Chinese and Japanese.
What makes Xiaohongshu unique is that its users are engaged with the content on the platform. They tend to spend a lot of time reading reviews and recommendations before making an order. Xiaohongshu offers brands the opportunity to connect with influencers. These individuals have a large number of followers and can help to promote your perfume to a wider audience.
Besides, Xiaohongshu has a strong focus on trends. Brands can use the platform to stay ahead of the curve and tap into emerging trends. When brands are launching a new perfume, they can use Xiaohongshu to create content around the perfume and its story. This helps brands to reach a wider audience and generate interest in the product.
China’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Perfume Market: Promising Figures
The Chinese fragrance market’s current and future growth prospects are optimistic. Over the next three to five years, high-end fragrances, particularly neutral scents, are expected to dominate the market. China is forecasted to become the second-biggest perfume market worldwide by 2030.
China is one the rare countries whose economy completed in 2020 with a positive growth rate. As a result, the demand for high-end toiletries and luxury items, in particular fragrances, is expected to rise even more.
The Millennials, who are driving the Chinese economy, are creating new national specifics that brands must adapt to:
- Massive interest in digital technologies,
- A significant impact of KOLs;
- The desire for new experiences,
- And the need of connecting with ancestral nature.
The Immature Market has still room for New Brands
A perfume firm must move quickly and seize opportunities. While perfecting its products, it must win the confidence of customers to flourish in this era.
China’s Multi-Billion-Dollar perfume Market is still wide open for new entrants. Foreign investment and maturation of distribution channels creates a favorable climate for expansion and diversification.
We are GMA marketing agency, we specialize in assisting brands all over the world. We have a vast amount of experience with many different types of businesses. Based in Shanghai, we have a strong focus on the fragrance market. We have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry.
As the leading perfume market research agency in China, we have unique insights into the trends. Contact us today to learn more about our services!