In early August, Estee Lauder relaunched a promotional video on Wechat Moments. The tagline: “Are you over-exposed to ultraviolet light because of cellphone use?” This has become one of the brands core tactics in its Wechat campaigns. In 2017, Estee Lauder ran more than 18 ad campaigns on Wechat Moments. The frequency of these campaigns and investment points to the growing power of Wechat in China’s beauty market.
With more than 1 billion active users per month, Wechat has emerged as a major channel for brands to engage with and influence Chinese consumers. Wechat’s owner, Tencent, has used its user data to gain insights on the beauty industry which has published in its report, Insights into Wechat-based Cosmetics Advertising and Product Solutions.
Social Media at the Forefront of Brand Communication
More than 90% of China’s online share of voice related to beauty brands comes from social media. Recent data indicates that social media has become a primary channel for obtaining new product information. Wechat accounts play a large role influencing consumers’ opinions about beauty brands.
Growing Number of Beauty Brands Advertise on Wechat
Between 2016 and 2017, the frequency of beauty ads on Wechat Moments increased by 81%. More than 156 beauty brands launched ads on Wechat Moments during this period. More than 60% ran their ads throughout the year.
Social Media Creates Massive Value for Brands
Analysis of social advertising and brand influence shows that social media communication can significantly improve brand influence.
Demand for Men’s Beauty Products Grows
China’s market for men’s beauty products is expected to grow by 13.5% annually during the next three years – far above the global average of 5.8%. More brands are now using male celebrities to both appeal to female consumers and promote men’s beauty products. Male celebrities have increased share of voice for men’s make-up by over 70%.
Key Opinion Leaders Play a Large Role in Driving Sales
Recent research shows that China’s young consumers are highly influenced by key opinion leaders (KOLs). Beauty KOLs have the strongest influence on consumers in the 18-24 age range, but they also shape buying decisions for consumers from 25 to 34 years old.
E-commerce Drives Demand in Third and Fourth Tier Markets
The rapid development of e-commerce in China has led many beauty brands to adopt omnichannel strategies. In 2017, online sales of skincare products grew by 41.9% and make-up products grew by 56%. The growth rates in China’s Tier 3, 4, and 5 cities outpaced that in Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets.
Beauty brands are also using online channels to acquire customers than then drive them to offline channels with trial offers, discounts and coupons.
Brand Loyalty Remains Low
Chinese cosmetics consumers often use multiple brands at the same time. They also continue to experiment with new brands and products. Peer behavior influences many purchasing decisions. Wechat advertising data also reflects a relatively low level of brand loyalty.
Ethical Brands Stand Out
Social provides more information about brands values. Chinese consumers tend to choose brands that match their values. 52% of consumers in major cities prefer to buy ethical brands.
Learn more about how Wechat is shaping China’s beauty industry at China Beauty Expo 2019.