Since 2015 and its landmark November 11 online shopping event, China has seen an explosion in cross-border e-commerce. Post-90’s generation consumer shopping habits have added momentum to this cross-border shopping boom and creating an increasingly mainstream sales channel for global beauty brands. Several factors are likely see cross-border cosmetic volumes continue to rise in 2017 and beyond.
Cosmetics Emerge as a Top Cross-border E-commerce Category
The 2016 Imported Product Insight Report jointly published by CBN Data and Tmall Global illustrates the explosion in cross-border product choices. During the last year, Tmall Global added 1,700 new product categories to its international shopping platform, allowing consumers to purchase more than 3,700 types of products from more than 63 countries. This growth in product selection covered a total of 14,500 international brands – more than 80% which are using cross-border e-commerce to enter China for the first time.
Tmall Global 2016 data indicates that cosmetic purchases have already topped children’s products and food to become it’s single largest cross-border purchase category by transaction volume. Within the cosmetics segment, TMall found that high-end, RMB 1,000-2,000 (US$140-$280) price point make up products are showing particularly strong growth. Sales of beauty technology products such as cleansing equipment and home beauty devices are also trending upward. Compared to skincare and cleansing products, color cosmetics are also benefiting from “premiumization” through these cross-border online channels. Although volumes are much smaller, imported eyeliner, nail polish, and similar shifts in upmarket consumption in cross-border marketplaces like Tmall.
Younger Millennials are Driving Cross-border Sales with a Focus on Make-up
2016 TMall Global data recently revealed that over 70% of its cross-border shoppers are females born in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the same data shows the post-2000 consumers are the platform’s fastest growing segment. These younger consumers are coming from second-tier cities and interior markets such as Xinjiang, Tibet, and Yunnan, although their spending levels are quickly rivaling counterparts from Beijing and Shanghai.
Interestingly, these younger Millennials are some of the biggest online cosmetics purchasers. Among post-2000 generation shoppers, skin care, body care, essential oils, make up, perfume, home beauty equipment, and related beauty categories represented more than 50% of all cross-border purchases on TMall Global. The e-commerce platform has seem similar category growth among male shoppers of the same age segment. In fact, TMall Global data shows that color cosmetics are the first cross-border purchase by more than 20% of post-2000 male consumers.
Data from China Beauty Expo’s 2016 edition echoes the trends highlighted by TMall Global. Color cosmetics also were the show’s fastest growing category with Korean and Japanese brands among the most active exhibitors.
Consumer Needs Drive Purchasing Patterns
Recent China e-commerce data shows that the future of its beauty market will be characterized by “premiumization”, segmentation, and demand for product and service quality. Against this backdrop, global brands tapping China’s cross-border e-commerce boom will need to deepen their understanding of local consumer needs, localize their brands and brand culture, and increase brand credibility among local buyers.
Through its May 22nd Asia Trends Forum Asia Trends Forum and one-on-one buyer meetings, China Beauty Expo provides an unrivaled channel for international brands to access this fast-growing market. The show’s forums and conferences share the latest insights from local experts on the consumer trends, emerging on- and offline channels, and innovations that shape one of the world’s fastest growing, fastest changing markets. China Beauty Expo brings together research, leading industry expertise, the world’s leading brands, and Asia’s most active professional buyers under one roof.