Niche brands are popular in China

Niche brands (corresponding to highly diversified products or services) are about to take a leading position in the beauty market in China according to a report by Reuter. The study, The New Face of Beauty in China, found that Chinese cosmetics consumers are moving away from major beauty brands to newcomers and organic products. Data from the study were gathered from the testimonies of 300 consumers across the top-tier cities: Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

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Our community that owns luxury Chinese consumers has allowed us to access the demographic mindset that is at the root of this vibrant beauty industry. China. We hope that the ideas we have presented through this research will give brands a better understanding of how to capture the attention of luxury Chinese consumers in a changing market.

Lee Folland, Head of Research at Reuter Communications

The findings of this research have focused on the growth of new e-commerce platforms, the demand for sales experiences and the changing tastes of Generation Z (the generation born from the 2000s).

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1.  Some key information from the report

  • Physical retailing in China is in high demand. 86% of consumers prefer a holistic experience (based on a global view of the customer based on data from various sources) in person
  • 85% of respondents would pay a premium for brands with organic products or ingredients
  • 92% of Chinese male beauty consumers prefer niche brands over big brands
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2.  The origin of changes in consumption

Creativity, personality, and design differences are the strengths of premium brands to win over new Chinese customers.

This trend is driven by Millennials (people born from the 2000s) who are always hungry for distinction and personalization, and by KOLs, whose role is undeniable. This is a shift in the buying aspirations that niche brands can enjoy.

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    3.  Roles of social networks

With these changes in habits among Chinese consumers, online media are adapting. Beauty influencers use creative content to combat changes in the market and stay in their Core Opinion Leader (KOL) bubble.

These “Kols” hold real power and have a great influence on their many fans. This phenomenon gives more opportunities for niche brands that, overnight, can find themselves in the spotlight. They quickly reach a hyper-targeted Chinese population via Weibo or WeChat.

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In addition, Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is now the number one platform for Chinese beauty consumers. In just two years, the content generated on the platform by Generation Z users has greatly increased in popularity among cosmetic buyers.

Now, emerging brands in the luxury industry in China must make themselves known through Chinese social networks, (600 million active users on Wechat and 500 million on Weibo, a boon for its brands) by targeting their potential customers.


Beauty in China is booming. Today, the market presents one of the most interesting opportunities for beauty brands. Curious and engaged young consumers are looking for something new; whether it’s trying new niche brands or new categories.

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