The Tmall Innovation Center has partnered with the Tmall Super Category Day team to launch its facial essence promotional campaign. The center has also released a white paper entitled, Trends in the Facial Essence Category Report, that taps Alibaba’s vast consumer data to deliver insights into China’s essence usage and market. The report provides a particularly useful look at the emerging essence needs of consumers born in the post-90s and post-95 periods.
Under-30 Consumers Drive Demand for Higher-end Products
The Tmall report covers three major themes: “The New Generation Driving Essence Sales Growth,” “Skincare Experts Behind Higher-end Demand,” and “Effective and Quick Solutions”. Important insights from the report include the fact that younger consumers are contributing to overall sales volume increases. Shoppers between 18 and 29 years old tend to choose middle-range essence brands while 30-year old women show a greater preference for high-end brands.
The section, “The New Generation Driving Essence Sales Growth,” reveals that sales volume of facial essence has risen steadily over the past three years, driven largely by this younger consumer group. This segment has contributed as much as 90% of this new sales value.
Women under 30 comprise the core of the essence market. They are “key opinion leaders” (KOLs) in this new consumer generation within the skincare market. Within this group, women between 18 and 24 represent 30% of the market, while those between 25 and 29 represent 27%. La Mer, Cosme Decorte, Guerlain, Estee Lauder, Clarins, L'Oreal Paris, AHC, and OLAY are their favorite brands. High-end and middle-range brands like La Mer, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Guerlain, OLAY, L'Oreal Paris, Cosme Decorte, and AHC provide skin with repair and restorative benefits and offer a variety of essence options for different skin types.
Mid-range essence products priced between RMB 200 and RMB 350 and high-end products priced between RMB 500 and RMB 750 account for 21% and 15% of purchases respectively. Post-90s consumers can be further divided into two sub-groups: women between 18 and 25 who use mid-range essence products and those between 25 and 35 who use high-end products.
"Working More Effectively and Penetrating Deeper into the Skin" Are Winning Keywords
The report’s section on “Skincare Experts Behind Higher-end Demand” indicates that segmentation and refinement are central themes in China’s essence consumption. Chinese consumers knowledge and experience with skin care has increased, giving them a better understanding of their own skin types and needs. This enables them to better select appropriate products. Scenario-based purchases and product mixes are becoming and important purchasing factor in this category.
The data indicates that major skin concerns are oiliness, acne, dryness, aging, dullness, and irritation. Consumers also believe that essence helps prevent aging and dullness. Key drivers that influence consumer choice of particular essence products include "facilitating better absorption of the toner and the lotion", "with efficacy that targets specific skin needs and problems", and "with higher concentrations of nutrients".
The data also shows that 80% of the consumers differ in terms of their preferences for essence brands and toner and lotion brands, and that 90% of the consumers differ in terms of their needs for essence efficacy and toner and lotion efficacy. In addition, 25% of consumers use different essences based on changes in season. 20% use two or more essences to maintain consistency based on their skin changes.
The final section of the report shows that keywords such as efficiency, rapid effect, safety and durability are major benefits desired by the market. "With efficacy that meets skin needs", "better skin after use" and "brands with good word of mouth" are phrases that shape purchasing decisions.
In the essence market, consumers are becoming more familiar with cosmeceutical brands and concepts. This has helped drive searches for medical beauty ingredients with search terms such as hyaluronic acid, lyophilized powder, hexapeptide, sodium hyaluronate, sheep placenta extract, umbilical cord blood, and parsley seed.
Learn more about China’s essence market and evolving consumer demands at China Beauty Expo 2019