Hair salons are becoming an increasingly effective entry point to China’s fast-growing personal care market. La Biosthetique, a premium French brand and leading skincare brand in Europe has used premium packaging and product quality to build awareness and strong sales volume through salons in Hong Kong and mainland China.
On October 30th, La Biosthetique organized a luxury business forum at the Park Hyatt in Hangzhou. The event brought together hair salon owners, leading stylists, and fashion opinion leaders from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China to discuss market trends and the future prospects for high-end salons.
Li Jianwen, Chairman of the Board of La Biosthetique (China) kicked off the forum with an overview of the history and development of the the brand. An exclusive Parisian brand, La Biothetique offers a complete range of cosmetics, including skin care, hair care, toiletries, body care, and make up products. The brand has already made its way into China’s major shopping centers. La Biothetique has opened brand concept stores in luxury landmarks such as Shanghai’s Lujiazui. In the China, the company also sells through exclusive salons, representing as much as 30% of its salon channel’s retail volume.
Young Consumers Drive Demand for Premium Products
Globally, 53% of millennial consumers choose exclusive experiences as gifts. In China, only 34% of this segment opts for these purchases. During the La Biothetique forum, Sang Ying, Executive Vice Chairman of China Beauty Expo, explained China high-end beauty market dynamics from three perspectives: “new economy”, “imported cosmetic trends,” and “new consumption patterns.”
According to market data shared by Sang Ying, high-end brands attracted 10 times more users in 2017 and the average spend per user was 11.1 times that of the same period 2016. At the same time, the average age of premium product users in China is dropping. The proportion of post-1990s generation consumers grew by 11% during the same period. The 2017-2018 Report on the Consumption Trends of Beauty Products revealed that Chinese consumers have a strong preference for French skin care and make up products, translating into higher sales volumes and average expenditures.
Fashion Trends in High-end Market Segments
La Biosthetique also understands the important role that fashion and art play in their brand message and product. Zhang Yuan, founder of Triangle Studio, a Hong Kong-based brand design agency discussed current fashion trends by analyzing popular multi-brand retailers and fashion shows launched by traditional brands.
According to Zhang Yuan, today’s consumers are not simply purchasing products. They’re buying a lifestyle. These multi-brand stores sell this type of lifestyle and create an iconic culture. She also highlighted four major fashion trends in the high-end market. These included the increasingly fashionable design of common items, the rise of Chinese style, sustainability of fashion, and young people’s preference for fashion brands.
Will High-end Salons Be the Next Channel for Personal Care Products?
La Biosthetique invited Mimi Tang, former CEO of Gucci Group Asia-Pacific and a regional fashion expert, Zhao Jinsong, founder of Asia Hair Designer Association (AHA), Wu Honglei, founder of MAGI, Fang Senyan, Chairman of the Board of Yuanyuan Group, Lei Ziwen, President of AHA China, Huang Minghai, founder of HAIRCODE, Xu Guanqun, fouder of 080 Group, Wen Youcheng, Director of La Biosthetique Asia, and other leading hair industry experts for a lively discussion on how to help salons generate more profit from their products.
When ask about the viability of hair salons as beauty sales channels, Zhao Jinsong pointed to the high credibility of salons in Hong Kong. There, consumers trust product recommendations of salons. By selling beauty products, some salons have been able to boost their revenues by 13%.
The panelists outlined several ways that salons can better sell products:
- Focus on one or two brands. Choose brands with good product quality and favor prestigious brands with high online visibility and consistent pricing.
- Befriend customers and serve them in good faith
- Focus on the details of the customer experience – even small changes can have a big impact.
- Younger consumers reject aggressive, hard-sell tactics. Encourage employees to experience the products and then share their genuine, personal experiences with customers.
- Develop sales skills and incentives for receptionists and stylists.
- Improve systems and processes for capturing customer data and profiling customers.
Professional salons in Europe and Hong Kong have moved into retail. Now, Chinese salons are starting to explore this new revenue stream. Hair salons’ advantage lies in their ability to building on the emotional bond that they have with their customers. This is particularly important with China’s young consumers. This is another example of the transformation of sales channels that is occurring in the China market. As service becomes an increasingly important differentiator, channels value grows in the competitive landscape. Domestic brands have emerged as frontrunners in providing channel training and user experience activities. Among international brands, La Biosthetique stands out as player that is investing in improving user experience and developing services within high-end salons to meet the needs on next-generation consumers.
Learn more about China’s emerging beauty channels. Pre-register for China Beauty Expo 2019 today!