Anti-aging cosmetics have become increasingly popular in China in recent years, as more and more people look for ways to maintain a youthful appearance and slow the visible signs of aging. Anti-aging products, which can include creams, serums, and other skincare items, are designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other blemishes associated with aging. While some of these anti-aging skincare products are formulated with natural ingredients, others rely on more advanced technologies to deliver their anti-aging benefits.
In this article, we will explore the trend of anti-aging cosmetics in China, examining the factors that have contributed to their growing popularity among Chinese consumers and the opportunities for domestic and foreign brands in the anti-aging market in China.
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Overview of China’s anti-aging market
Fear of aging is a real obsession for Chinese people and cosmetics companies are reaping the rewards. BUPA’s report found that people in China expressed some of the strongest anxieties about growing older, with Asia-Pacific anti-aging market set to hit 8.09 billion dollars by 2022 – driven largely by Millennials as their consumer power soars.
Millennials in China are in their 30s, and with that milestone comes aging panic. This generation is the first of their kind – willing to invest time and money into self-care for an effortless anti-aging routine. With younger generations entering this “skincare era,” growth in the market continues at a feverish pace at 12% year over year in 2022.
Who buys anti-aging products in China?
Chinese consumers are becoming the biggest spenders in anti-aging skincare products, with younger generations splurging on luxury items from domestic and foreign brands. Skincare has become a top priority for them, taking up to 40 percent of their annual salary – showing that personal care is more important than ever as people strive towards looking youthful and vibrant. The demand for these solutions continues to skyrocket due to increasing wealth among this main consumer group.
Fan Fan is a 25-year-old HR manager living in Beijing with a 4,000 RMB monthly salary and when she was 22 years old she spent half of it on her first anti-aging purchase, a 75ml bottle of Advanced Night Repair serum from Estée Lauder. “Anti-aging only works when you start early. I know it’s a bit pricey, but at least this is a better investment than a Louis Vuitton bag”, she said.
Indeed, women under 30 years old spent far more than they did in previous years on anti-aging eye creams and skin-aging products. Consequently, in their 20s women are the biggest consumers of cosmetics and skincare. They are even spending more money than older women wither higher disposable incomes.
These young consumers are willing to spend a lot of money on skincare because they are expecting real results from the products considered investments. Indeed, the investment in cosmetics and anti-aging products is significantly higher than what consumers tend to spend on handbag prices at more than 1,000 RMB.
In China and in the West, skincare markets are different. Skin texture and radiance are more important in the West. Wrinkle prevention is more important in China. The anti-aging market is even declining in the US, according to Mintel. Chinese women prefer to focus on preventing damage to their skin rather than treatment. They are looking for anti-aging solutions, starting at a very early age, investing in anti-aging creams and at-home beauty devices or professional treatments.
What are the main market trends?
As anti-aging cosmetics are becoming more and more popular in China, beauty brands need to follow the newest trends in the market driven by young consumers, so that they stay on top of the shopping preferences of their target audience.
Consumers are willing to spend more on advanced technologies
Millennials are leading the charge in premium anti-aging products, with more of them than ever willing to pay over RMB 1000 for a single product. The demand is clear: they crave advanced technologies offered by international big-name brands that domestic companies still struggle to compete against. That Millennials’ needs may be even greater than those of Gen Zs lends further insight into this trend – and shows just how determined younger generations are when it comes to combating aging!
Chinese consumers trust foreign brands more
Chinese consumers prefer foreign brands more when it comes to many sectors, from food to cosmetics. Thanks to many regulations, those products are believed to have better quality than Chinese products and as anti-aging products are treated as investments, consumers want to be sure of their quality.
As you can see from the data from Statista above, Japanese and Korean cosmetic products are the most popular among Chinese women, and European brands, with the majority of them being French, are also very popular on the market in China. The owner of La Mer, Tom Ford Beauty, MAC, and the South Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+, saw a general crisis during the last year, but it also has a gradual recovery from COVID-19 primarily due to China, which has become Estée Lauder’s third-largest online market.
Aesthetic medicine is becoming a very popular way to prevent aging
Aesthetic medicine is becoming popular all around the world, but Asia, led by South Korea is at another level. China is following its steps and the market is expected to reach 311.5 billion yuan in 2023. Non-surgical measures are becoming especially popular among young consumers, for example, botox injections, photorejuvenation, thermage etc.
Consumers invest in anti-aging devices
As the pandemic kept people quarantined at home, professional beauty devices have become the new normal in many households. Market data shows that since 2018, more and more consumers are investing in premium anti-aging products worth over RMB 3000 — making formerly science fiction-sounding technology like Radiofrequency, Thermolift, and Infusion readily accessible to everyone.
How to promote your anti-aging cream in China?
The most important thing to understand about China in 2023 is that people prefer to buy products online, especially when it comes to those that they don’t need to try on. Cosmetics are a very popular online product, so you need to make sure you have a good digital strategy to sell anti-aging cosmetics in China.
Increase your visibility with SEO on Baidu
SEO on Baidu is the key to the visibility of your brand in China. Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, it ranks 5th among the most visited sites in the world and currently has more than 800 million web pages. Baidu now offers a wide range of services, such as web searches, image searches, music, forums, or a Q&A service.
Baidu SEO requires several steps, which may be different from what needs to be done on Google. The notions of trust and notoriety remain essential for companies wishing to enter the Chinese market and be visible on Baidu. Key SEO strategies include keyword optimization, backlinks, and content sharing, this is the way to generate quality traffic.
It’s also important to have a Chinese website hosted in China, so you rank high in search results. Consumers tend to check information on websites, even though they can check everything on WeChat official accounts and so on.
Compared with SEA, SEO takes more time, but it is a long-term solution in terms of developing a better e-reputation and is ultimately more stable. The quality search result won’t disappear after you stop the campaign, on the contrary, you will remain higher in the rankings and continue to drive traffic.
China is the world’s largest connected country: more than 90% of Chinese people have an account on at least one Chinese social network. Wechat is the social media most used in China and, regardless of the size of your company, it is an essential platform to develop your marketing strategy in the country. By promoting your anti-aging creams on social media, you can build a community surrounding your company, reach your target, get feedback and create a friendlier company image.
Weibo, China’s largest SNS so far, has got a nearly 88% penetration rate among the nation’s excess of 358 million users. It has also attracted over 130,000 companies including one-third top 500 enterprises in the world. They don’t just join Weibo on impulse, but for the benefit, Weibo can bring them. Some come to Weibo for brand awareness, some for brand image, and others for closer relationships with customers.
Another great social media platform when it comes to attracting young Chinese women is Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu). Often compared to Instagram, this is one of the most popular social media platforms in China, especially useful when it comes to fashion and beauty. It’s based on user-generated content, where users and influencers share tips, recommendations, and reviews of products they use.
Short videos and live-streaming
Chinese people like to watch videos on smartphones and you can develop unique ideas to spread your brand awareness campaigns through effective video messages. Videos always get more views than photos and there are also short-video platforms like Douyin, very popular among young consumers.
Apart from videos, one of the best ways to promote your products is through live-streaming, especially if you collaborate if a well-known influencer. During a streaming session, the influencer will show your products and how to use them, contributing to greater sales during the stream.
Key opinion leaders
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are social media influencers who have anywhere between a thousand and millions of followers on Chinese digital platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, RED, Douyin, or video platforms such as Youku or Meipai. You can recruit these Key Opinion Leaders to represent your company, brand, product, or service in China through paid posts or live streaming.
This is a very powerful tool for international companies new to the Chinese market, allowing you to tap into large active communities that are strongly influenced by a KOL’s opinion. KOLs are usually specialists in their field, so they gather communities that can be your target audience, depending on the products you sell.
The development of new technologies and the increased use of smartphones and tablets allowed explosive growth of eCommerce in China. One of the best Chinese e-commerce platforms is Tmall which is part of the Alibaba Group. This is definitely the largest B2C platform in China, it offers a wide selection of affordable products and decent logistics and attracts value-conscious shoppers.
Contrary to its competitor Taobao, the company has made arrangements to ensure that products sold on Tmall are authentic. Known as the “Amazon of China”, JD.com is also one of the main B2C e-commerce platforms and is Tmall’s biggest rival. Consequently, using e-commerce platforms to develop your business is a must to efficiently enter the Chinese market.
The two mentioned online marketplaces, although giving you the best visibility, are very expensive. If you are a small brand wanting to test the market, we advise selling your products through WeChat or RED e-commerce, as it’s cheaper and better for the start.
We can help you promote and sell anti-aging products in China!
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