Beauty trend in China 2019 : What are local brands doing that is proving so successful?

After discovering the 3rd part of our expert’s interview on the evolution of Physical Retail Environment, Here is the 4th and last part of the interview of our Beauty Ifop Asia expert, on local beauty companies. The following findings are based on Ifop’s research experience in beauty category and social listening on various online channels (e.g. social media, shopping sites, etc.), and they are mainly reflective about Chinese women in higher tier city.


Local brands have a talking point for some time, but really seem to have taken off in the past year in terms of the number of new brands hitting the market and the quality of products they are offering; is this your view too? What are local brands doing that is proving so successful?


1. C-beauty’s reputation is set to change from a cheap alternative to an industry trendsetter.


  • C-beauty brands have seen their sales soar in the past several years thanks to their high price-to-quality ratio and consumers’ “buy-Chinese” attitude as an expression of national pride. Yet compared to international brands, most consumers still thought of C-beauty as having inferior branding and a lack of cachet. And C-beauty was mostly known for producing ‘copycat’ versions of premium international products at a much lower price.


  • Yet, nowadays, a wave of new-gen C-beauty brands is challenging the old “cheap, unoriginal” norms of C-beauty by offering a value upgrade, and China’s young and urban population is its biggest advocate. User data from the lifestyle platform Little Red Book showed that entries of “C-beauty” rose 116 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2019, while over 5 million users shared positive reviews of C-beauty brands. According to CBN Data’s report, 70 percent of C-beauty consumers are age 18-25 and from top-tier cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou.


  • Local brands are often able to familiarize themselves with the Chinese market and communication trends faster. Brands can leverage diversified marketing strategies such as social networking, KOL, variety IP, etc. to achieve rapid growth in sales.


  • Local brands put more emphasis on combining cultural elements, and it is easier to resonate with consumers and build emotional connection. According to Tencent Gen Z Research Report, over 50% of Gen Z think that foreign brands are no longer a bonus, and strong national pride and self-esteem drive Gen Z to be more willing to support local brands.


  • The product development and update cycle of local brands is shorter than that of international brands. Local brands could quickly adapt to consumers’ changing needs, and provide a brand new consumer experience. As an example, Marie Dalgar will launch new products every month, and the time from new product development to product launch is generally about six months, which makes the brand rapidly spread in the market.



Some C-beauty brands are tapping into the power of traditional Chinese medicine to win over the support of consumers. For instance, the Shanghai skincare brand Inoherb is famous for incorporating Rhodiola Rosea, a plant that was used by ancient Chinese to make skincare goods, into its formula. According to the report, there are respondents who believe C-beauty fits the skin conditions affecting Chinese people the best, while foreign brands are seen as using chemical ingredients that damage their skin.



2. Which kinds of local brands are doing well? Is it just KOL brands with a ready digital following or is the offer more qualitative?


  • Perfect Diary was established in 2016 in Guangzhou. This chic beauty label boasts minimalist, sleek products that are affordable without compromising on quality. Perfect Diary’s products are designed to be easy to apply, so they’re perfect for anyone new to makeup. Each product is tailored towards Asian skin types and marketed to keep up with China’s ever-changing beauty trends.


  • It’s remarkable marketing mix contributed to its success:
    • Its price-value proposition and unique branding campaigns. Perfect Diary sells unique products that cost one-fourth that of foreign brands; most items are priced under 100 RMB (US$14), making it affordable for most Chinese consumers.
    • Make use of new format of social media marketing to increase brand exposure and build new consumer connection: One key factor for the rise of a group of cutting-edge local brands is to abandon traditional advertising strategies and transfer to social media, and then make the brand flourish. Perfect Diary invested a lot in the content marketing on Red at early stage to raise brand recognition and generate buzz.


  • a twelve-color eyeshadow palette collaborated with Discover channel. Through creativity, practicality, as well as rich and bold color matching, the brand is deeply loved by makeup enthusiasts and novices. It also promotes Perfect Diary to one sales peak after another. (It is estimated that there are over 110,000 posts about this palette shared on Red)


  • Judydoll

Judydoll is an affordable brand boasting adorably-packaged makeup in a wide range of colors. They frequently release fun, new products, always staying one step ahead of China’s makeup trends. Judydoll is extremely popular—their famous single eyeshadows, which come in 171 colors, have over 700,000 sales per month.



Mao Geping is a makeup legend in China and he is also the founder of MAOGEPING cosmetics, one of China’s major domestic brands. His makeup range was inspired by Chinese classical poetry, paintings and costumes that reflect the country’s rich history. As such, the product packaging is luxurious and classy, with Chinese-inspired accents. MAOGEPING is a bit pricier than Judydoll and Perfect Diary, but his products are great basics that cosumers will end up using every day.



  • Outstanding visual appearance of local brands attracts consumers’ attention (combining cultural elements, cross-border cooperation, IP),thus establishing unique brand image and personality to attract young consumers. Innovation on visual appearance breaks down the inherent impression on local brands.


  • Local skincare brands: Core ingredient is the key to the success of various local skincare brands. Local skincare products that specialize in popular ingredient are gradually well known and recognized by the public. Natural raw materials are also the main selling point of some traditional local brands. Pechoin and Chando have always adhered to the concept of “from nature”. For example, the “Herbal” series of Pechoin and the “Himalayan Glacier Water” of Chando.


3. What impact are local brands which have been acquired having on the market, (eg Magic of Yue Sai by L’Oréal)? How will these brands evolve?


  • Positive impact: Expand target audience through creative and localized marketing strategy:
  • Dabao SOD lotion, was an essential skincare product for almost every Chinese family in 1980s. After it was acquired by Johnson& Johnson, it was gradually marginalized by the market and even disappeared for some time. Recenly, Dabao has started brand transformation by innovating packaging, cross-industry collaboration, creating male-focused product line, and so on.


Dabao SOD lotion Vs. Chinese traditional cartoon, Huluwa



Dabao launched male skincare series.




  • Negative impact: Unclear market position:

After Yuesai was acquired by L’Oreal, the brand position was vague at the first place. It was degraded from semi-selective local skincare brand to mass brand, which is similar to Maybelline and L’Oreal Paris. But the result turned out to be unsatisfactory. Now Yuesai changed its market potion into premium skincare, and update its marketing strategy by collaborating with KOLs and exposing in e-commerce live streaming. It has gained increasing recognition. However, it is still a long journey for the brand to reach the same level as other foreign premium brands, which have rooted and stable status in consumers’ perception.


4. What kind of distribution strategies are the new local brands adopting?


  • Compared with a large number of local brands’ offline channels in the past, recently, local brands have begun to make efforts through e-commerce platform combined with offline channel at later stage. With consumer orientation, they have begun to invest more in brand marketing.


  • Most of the local brands created in recent years started with online platform. Through various internet social media marketing methods, brands created high-quality promotional content, including graphic, video, live streaming and other forms to generate buzz, and directly trigger online sales. Coupled with the relatively low price of local products, consumers’ trial-and-error costs are low, and it is easier for them to accept direct online purchases. In addition, online sales have directly shortened the distance between brands and consumers, and let brands communicate directly with consumers through social and e-commerce platforms, in order to understand the pain points of product and make timely improvement.


  • When the number of online fans is reaching a peak, it is the time to expand new consumers through offline channels for those local brands. Meanwhile, offline stores have become an important channel for new local brands to enhance interaction and experience.


  • Winona is a special case, which starts from offline. As a brand mainly focused on medical skin care, Winona is promoted offline at first, based on professional academic research capabilities and doctor recommendations. Through the counters of pharmacies and hospital usage, it builds consumers’ awareness and reputation of the brand. Then, it began to enter to online channels to spread to wider targets.


5. What is the market share of local beauty brands and how do you see this evolving?


  • According to the Tmall (one of major e-commerce platforms), local brands takes over 1/3 of market share among 55 beauty brands which exceeds 100 million RMB sales on 2019 Nov. 11th Online Shopping Day.


  • Among the Top 20 makeup brands sold in January-November 2019 on Tmall, the performance of all brands was above 200 million; the number of Chinese brands accounted for 40%, including Perfect Diary, Huaxizi, Zeesea, Carslan, Chioture, Meiking, Marie Dalgar. This performance is slightly better than skincare; Perfect Diary won the championship with more than 1.5 billion sales. It is also the first local brand to win the Tmall Nov. 11 cosmetics sales champion.


  • Among the Top 20 make up products sold on Nov. 11, 6 products on the list are from local brands, taking over 30%. Powder from Huaxizi is on the top, exceeding 500 million sales.


  • Compared to the era when prices determined consumption power ten years ago, nowadays more consumers are willing to pay for quality and personalization. Brand differentiation has become an important factor to leverage premium power. In addition to innovation in product packaging, product forms and concepts, local brands should also go deeply to focus more on product research and development to improve product quality, thereby increasing consumer stickiness.


  • In addition, C-beauty brands still have more hurdles to overcome before taking the global stage. To gain a foothold in the competitive market, C-beauty brands have to focus more on the product research and development, rather than communication, and try to build a higher level of consumer trust through product with a sustainable vision.


Find all the articles here :





Beauty trend in China 2019 : How is the physical retail environment for beauty evolving ?

After discovering the 2nd part of our expert’s interview on consumer habits changing, Here is the 3rd part (out of 4) of the interview of our Beauty Ifop Asia expert, on the evolution of Physical Retail Environment on beauty companies. The following findings are based on Ifop’s research experience in beauty category and social listening on various online channels (e.g. social media, shopping sites, etc.), and they are mainly reflective about Chinese women in higher tier city.


How is the physical retail environment for beauty evolving? Particularly when looking at saturated Tier 1 and 2 cities compared to the lower tiers where consumption power is growing but physical retail has been underdeveloped? 


  • Despite the convenience of online shopping, there’d still a case to be made that brick-and-mortar stores will never be eclipsed because they offer an all-sensory experience that by definition a digital retailer cannot provide. physical stores still occupy an indispensable position. According to research data, over 50% of consumers think one of the reasons they like to go to offline stores is to swatch and try new products. In addition to test lipstick colors, about 50% of respondents will go to physical stores of their favorite brands to experience new products. Therefore, brands are taking effort to upgrade physical stores to inject brand vitality and attracts younger consumers by creating unique and immersive shopping experience.


  • Consumers in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities have more opportunities to experience novel and diversified offline retail environment, which emphasizes on fun and immersive experience with entertainment and high technology. Other than boutique stores, brands also launch pop-up exhibitions and pop-up stores in big cities to engage with more consumers. (E.g. Nars 25 Anniversary Exhibition, Charlotte Tilbury Pop-up store)



  • Makeup collection store is another new form of offline store. It is like fast-fashion makeup store, focusing on mass or niche brands, including foreign and local trendy beauty brands. Traditional beauty advisors have been removed from the store. It mainly targets on young consumers who value shopping efficiency while pursuing cost-effectiveness. Such stores start opening in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, covering large population of young and trendy consumer.


  • The Colorist, an emerging makeup collection store, opened the first store in October, and planned to open over 50 stores in one month, covering 20 top cities in China.



  • ARMAY, is based on contemporary fashion and aesthetics, born as online cosmetics collection store, now adopts new retail strategy and set offline stores in Hongkong Shanghai Beijing and Chengdu. It conveys the concept of beauty and beautiful life. Covering first well-known international cosmetics and skin care brands products, global unique boutiques, and HARMAY’s own products, including skin care and lifestyle, minimalist in sensibility and industrial in aesthetic, all Harmay stores swap glamour for mystery, transforming the shopping experience from a browsing activity to a journey of discovery.


  • Open physical retail stores in low-tier cities would be next stage for successful new local brands. After Internet breaks down the barriers to information transmission, residents in low tier cities can already access the same fashion and beauty information as urban residents on Weibo, Red, and Douyin. Compared with international brands, local brands are better able to seize the sinking offline market through the initial high-intensity online marketing and interaction as well as cost-effective advantages. Since Perfect Diary opened the first physical store in 2019, the number of offline stores has exceeded 40. In the next three years, 600 offline stores are planned to cover 100 cities, covering low-tier cities.



  • Open physical retail stores in low-tier cities would be next stage for successful new local brands. After Internet breaks down the barriers to information transmission, residents in low tier cities can already access the same fashion and beauty information as urban residents on Weibo, Red, and Douyin. Compared with international brands, local brands are better able to seize the sinking offline market through the initial high-intensity online marketing and interaction as well as cost-effective advantages. Since Perfect Diary opened the first physical store in 2019, the number of offline stores has exceeded 40. In the next three years, 600 offline stores are planned to cover 100 cities, covering low-tier cities.

Beauty trend in China 2019 : How are beauty companies responding to the new consumer demands?

After discovering the 1st part of ou expert’s interview on consumer habits changing, Here is the 2nd part (out of 4) of the interview of our Beauty Ifop Asia expert, on Beauty Companies in China and beauty consumer demands. The following findings are based on Ifop’s research experience in beauty category and social listening on various online channels (e.g. social media, shopping sites, etc.), and they are mainly reflective about Chinese women in higher tier city.


How are beauty companies responding to the new consumer demands? What kinds of products are they bringing to market that are proving successful?


1 – More foreign brands are considering e-commerce platform as first entrance to break through Chinese market.


Some western, Japanese and Korean makeup brands, and some fast-fashion niche beauty brands have opened Tmall overseas flagship stores and achieved good sales (e.g. Fenty Beauty, 3CE, etc.).


L’Oreal’s 3CE online flagship store opened in February 2019 for trial operation on Tmall, and its single-day sales exceeded 14 million RMB on Tmall Super Fan Day.



2 – Accelerate product upgrade and improvement (including but not limited to ingredients, packaging, format, and concept)


With the help of fast-growing wave of social media and e-commerce, brands could easily track with consumers’ behavior and feedback. In the meantime, consumers are well educated and quickly absorbing new knowledge. Therefore, brands need to keep up with the market pace and offer timely response through product upgrading and technical development.


Premium brands have led the way in the new formatted launches that have appeared in the market, as they have looked to tap into the upmarket shift in demand. Lancôme released Teint Idole Ultra Wear Valueset, a new stick foundation series, providing eight different colours for consumers to choose from.


3 – Create emotional and cultural resonance with consumers


Simple cross-industry collaboration is not enough to be standing out in competition. In order to trigger consumers’ interest and improve brand loyalty, brands have put efforts on integrating cultural and trendy elements (e.g. Chinese classic fashion, palace concept, entertainment IP, etc.)to build emotional connections with consumers.


Huaxizi launched limited edition for new year, named “百鸟朝凤” (birds pay homage to a phoenix), which is from Chinese traditional fairy tale, meaning happiness, joy and pursuing beauty of nature. The eyeshadow palette has delicate embossed patterns.



4 – More interactive and creative content and format when collaborating with KOLs


Consumers are exposing to beauty information in more diverse forms and richer content from KOLs, for example, plog, vlog, live streaming, product sharing, tutorials, and so on. Interesting and immersive collaboration with KOLs could contribute to increase awareness and boost sales.


5 – Products claiming on new technology development attracts consumers’ attention


On the basis of ingredient-savvy, consumers are paying more attention to the scientification of skincare. They are eager to learn as much as possible about their own skin in order to obtain customized and targeted skin care products. Bio-chemical ingredients and high-tech beauty tools are raising public attention.


6 – Professional on functionality on specific product or product line


As consumers are more sophisticated on product choice, they are refining each step of skincare routine to focus on targeted functions. Consumers are no longer looking for all-in-one products to satisfy skincare needs.


SkinCeuticals has been popular recently due to emphasis on targeted efficacy for each product type (color correction, reducing fine lines, whitening, removing spots, and so on). Consumers are educated to add on different serums in usage for stronger and more accurate solution.

Beauty trend in China 2019 : How are Chinese beauty consumer habits changing ?

Discover the 1st part (out of 4) of the interview of our Beauty Ifop Asia expert on Beauty trends in China and beauty consumer habits. The following findings are based on Ifop’s research experience in beauty category and social listening on various online channels (e.g. social media, shopping sites, etc.), and they are mainly reflective about Chinese women in higher tier city


How are Chinese beauty consumer habits changing? What kinds of brands and products are they interested in? How does this differ from the previous year or two and how will this evolve?


  • Skincare


Heavier usage of sun care

With increasing awareness of the harm of overexposure to sun on skin health and ageing, a great number of Chinese women start to form new sun care habits. Their usage of sun care products has been beyond the height of summer or when they go to the seaside on holiday, whereas, it is increasingly becoming a year-round essential item for daily use in their skin care regimens. Putting sunscreen during the winter and wearing sunscreen to work in an office turn to be common practice among Chinese beauty consumers. New sun care product launches in China with ‘long-lasting’ claims or high-SPFs have grown significantly, in addition, mom women pay regard to ease of re-application, and try to look for more convenient and easier to use format of sunscreen so that they can apply at all times.


“Overnight” skincare product is thriving in response to the need of “night animals”

In line with their social value and behavior, young consumers are looking for more advanced skincare solution to compensate their unhealthy and indulging lifestyle. According to “2019 Citizen Health Insight Report”, about 70% of post 90s generation go to sleep after 11pm.


Overnight beauty hacks, such as sleeping facial masks, overnight powders, and LED facial devices, have seen soaring consumer interests in China recently. L’Oréal’s Revitalift Filler Renew Anti-Ageing & Replumping Night Cream is marketed as a “zero o’clock cream (零点霜)” today in China. Guerlain’s Midnight Secret Serum, on the other hand, is marketed as a “Stay-up-late cream (熬夜霜).” Both nicknames, strategically adopted by the brand’s local marketing, target the Chinese millennials who are seeking control of their skin in their increasingly sleep-deprived lifestyle.


Cosmeceuticals brands are longer confined to problem skin

Being constantly educated by the ingredient savvy KOLs, beauty salons and various cosmeceuticals brands, a great number of Chinese women focus their attention on cosmeceuticals brands, which is deemed to be more powerful in terms of prevention, protection and correction of skin concerns, as well as more compelling for being backed by science. They try hard to understand those ingredients and the evidence-based efficacy.


This offers an explanation of the robust growth of Skin Ceuticals in 2019, as it is perfectly aligned to cash in on this major trend. It’s signature products, H.A Intensifier, Discoloration defense, Phyto corrective, are highly appreciated by many young women. And the use of ingredient content and ingredient function labeling are major product differentiators that have a massive impact on consumer preference.


“Phyto Corrective,” which is designed to hydrate and soothe irritated or sensitive skin. On its Tmall flagship, the sales of “Phyto Corrective” was high at 16,000 pieces in the last 30 days, compared with “CE Ferulic High Potency Triple Antioxidant” and “Phloretin CF High-Performance Broad-





Action Antioxidant,” which sold 1,000 pieces and almost 2,000 pieces respectively. Voolga敷尔佳 is developed from Heilongjiang Huaxin PharmaceuticalCompany, with pharmacy experts and professors. It launched repairing skincare for post-cosmetology treatment, and the product is used in cosmetology hospitals.




Ultra-Luxe skincare is on the rise

Super premium beauty and personal care in China recorded robust double-digit current value growth in the past 2 years, mainly thanks to the expanding middle class in China.


Facing tremendous social pressure to maintain their youthful looks, Chinese women, see anti-ageing skincare as a priority and are willing to invest in products that deliver results. They are looking outside those premium classic premium brands, such as SK2, Guerlain. In recent years, they have started looking into foreign niche, ultra-luxe brands abroad for more exclusive offerings, such as Valmont and La Prairie from Switzerland, Natura Bisse from Spain.


Natural, organic, safe & clean products are becoming the norm.

Millennials women demonstrate high interests in natural, herbal or organic ingredients and biotech products. Not only do they look for transparency and traceability of product ingredients, but they are also curious about where ingredients originate and how products are made.

  • Skincare & Makeup


Innovative products cater to technologically aware consumers in China

Consumers are no longer confined themselves to studying ingredients, products with innovative characteristics, now seems more closely meeting demand from technologically aware consumers. Many brands utilize a series of intelligent, innovative features in their products. As an example, the time match powder can be used to absorb the gloss of the skin intelligently in line with the sebum level of the skin, to reduce the oxidation and yellowing of the make-up. In addition, the unique Super Bio-Moisture Network can keep the skin moist for a long time by sensing the skin’s condition, so as to achieve “intelligent” hydration and natural transparency.


  • Makeup

The rise of new aesthetic trends

Chinese beauty buyers are flocking to domestic and Western brands, from K-beauty. This change in consumer trends strongly relates to a search for authenticity, and consumers now want products that allow them to express their identity and individuality rather than the uniformity promoted by K-beauty.


Niche professional makeup brands have been penetrating into to consumers’ recognition.

Along with consumption upgrading and promotions of Daigou, consumers are not limiting to well-known brands and hot products when it comes to product choice. They are discovering more professional and differentiated brands to satisfy with specific makeup needs as well as show their personality. (E.g. Pat Mcgrath, Glossier, Romand, Natasha Denona, etc.


Glossier became popular on Instagram and Youtube. It is discovered by local KOLs recently, and exposed on local social media, such as Red.



“Watch it, But it” Livestreaming e-commerce, make their purchasing decision more easily

Livestreaming is the “go-to” option for Chinese consumers when seeking out new products and deciding on what to buy. It serves not only as a tool to showcase and deliver information about products, but also as a customer engagement channel in which shoppers can interact with the host. As consumers can ask questions about the products, post comments to the hosts and even send virtual gifts as a token of appreciation while watching the livestream.


2019 is a year of livestreaming in China. For instance, Taobao Live, Alibaba’s dedicated livestreaming channel, generated sales of RMB 20 billion during Alibaba’s Singles’ Day 2019 shopping holiday on November 11. This accounted for around 7.5% of the company’s total Singles’ Day sales of RMB 268.4 billion


  • Kim Kardashian collaborated with livestreaming influencer Viya to sell 15,000 bottles of KKW Beauty perfume on Singles Day.


  • On 2019 March 8th Women’s Day, Li Jiaqi (Austin Li) sold 10,000 bottles of facial cleanser in 10 seconds; sold 15,000 lipsticks in 15 minutes; and made 3.35 million RMB sales in 5-and-a-half-hour online live streaming



Chinese consumers’ makeup routines evolved rapidly

Consumers in China are becoming ever more sophisticated in their daily makeup regimens. Eye shadow was notable amongst the expanding areas of colour cosmetics in the past 2 years.


According to Grand View research, the value of the global eye makeup market is expected to reach US$21.41 billion by 2015. Eye shadow products are expected to be the fastest growing category with an average annual growth rate of 6.2% between 2018 and 2025.

What beauty for “sustainable natives”?

The IFOP Beauty division sheds light on the new “sustainable natives” generation and four initiatives deployed by brands to bring about ecological transformation in the beauty sector.


Who are “Sustainable Natives”?


This is the generation aged under 20 and about to begin further education. They are aware that the development of human society cannot take place to the detriment of the planet. They feel they have their part to play from a social, economic but above all environmental standpoint. Sustainable development is a key and indispensable factor when it comes to choosing their studies, career, investments and consumption on both the short and long term. They are the “consum’actors” of the future. It is thus crucial to get to know and understand them better to be able to suggest a take on beauty that corresponds to them and represents no danger for their future.


transition écologique


They expect commitment but above all action


“Sustainable Natives” expect a high level of commitment from the cosmetics industry. They want to consume better and purchase more environmentally friendly products that have a minimal impact on the planet. They demand commitment, on paper of course, but above all tangible actions! Cosmetic brands have understood this and must thus reconsider their markets from a 360-degree perspective.


Let us take a look at the four levers to be activated to offer beauty with a higher level of commitment:

Address social concerns


Brands are embarking on a restructuration of their supply chains and are rethinking the production process to support local economies. They are placing the emphasis on short supply chains, craftsmanship, ethical sourcing principles and fairer remuneration…


Who is doing what? Aroma-Zone is consolidating its development and is striving to repatriate production as much as possible. Typology shares part of its Black Friday profits with an organisation that plants trees in deforested areas worldwide and in so doing creates jobs in poor communities.

Address animal rights


As a result of several media scandals (e.g. videos showing ill-treatment of animals), campaigns concerning measures taken to protect animals as well as the increasing popularity of veganism (especially among the younger generations), brands are under close scrutiny. The latter are reconsidering their product formulas and/or taking the necessary measures to fulfil the requirements of specific labels (no animal testing throughout the entire production process, no ingredients of animal origin in the formulas).


Who is doing what? An increasing number of products are displaying labels which provide consumers with guarantees regarding production processes such as cruelty free and vegan or vegan society. An example which is worthy of note is The Body Shop which was the first brand to take action against animal testing in the cosmetics sector, not to mention Kiehl’s, Lavera, Lush, Naturé moi…



Transition écologique

Address health issues 


“Sustainable natives” is a generation of young people who place emphasis on their own health and that of the planet. They keep a keen lookout for labelling and request explanations. They are assisted in this by certain applications which fully grasped the amplitude of this trend at an early stage such as Yuka which already totals 12 million downloads over 2 years.


Who is doing what? Armed with a means of exerting pressure on brands, the younger generation is striving to bring about changes. Under this watchful eye, transparency is of the essence for large groups. L’Oréal for example has set up its “Au cœur de nos produits” platform to shed light on its manufacturing processes and the composition of the group’s products. New beauty brands are also establishing their credentials such as Typology with its no-nasties formulas; Respire with its 99,98% natural origin deodorant brand; La Bouche Rouge Paris with its “pure” microplastics-free lipsticks; or Garancia with its Huile Ensorcelante aux Super Pouvoirs® which refers to its good Yuka score in in its communication strategy.

Address environmental concerns


No to plastic! This revolutionary invention dating back to the 1800s has now become highly controversial: air and sea pollution, negative impact on animal and human health… Nothing very appealing here for the new generation. So brands are saying Yes to glass, aluminium and kraft and thus adopting new forms of packaging.


Who is doing what? Many new initiatives are to be found on the market today: more concentrated formulas, compressed products, solid products, products consumers can make at home, DIY workshops.


Aroma-zone organises DIY workshops; Pick&Gram is selling bulk products; Yves Rocher manufactures I Love My Planet concentrated shampoos; and L’Oréal is working with Albéa on tubes made from carton.



Transition écologique


Let’s remain positive!


The beauty industry must reduce its impact on the planet while addressing the needs of “Sustainable natives”. Green washing is no longer accepted, and beauty brands have understood this.


The aim of the IFOP Beauty division is to provide support to brands carrying out their ecological transformation and help them gain better understanding of their targets while identifying the levers to be activated. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.


Julie Costa – Beauty division group manager


KEVIN ZHOU : Send an email

[PRESS RELEASE] Appointment of Laure Friscourt as deputy CEO of the Ifop group

Laure Friscourt is appointed Deputy CEO of Ifop with the task of bolstering the Group’s development in the Beauty, Healthcare and Wellbeing sectors while supporting growth in Asia.


Stéphane Truchi, Chairman of Ifop’s Executive Board, announced the appointment of Laure Friscourt as Deputy CEO of Ifop: “Laure’s unwavering competence, her team spirit and international experience acquired in our Ifop Asia subsidiary are valuable assets for this new stage in her career. I am sure that Laure’s appointment will be highly beneficial for the Group and that we will thus be in an even stronger position to support our clients’ development”.


Laure Friscourt has held various positions within the Group; she managed the Ifop Asia subsidiary, then set up and managed Beauty Department. As Deputy CEO, her task today is to bolster Ifop’s development in the Beauty, Healthcare and Wellbeing sectors while supporting growth in Asia.


About Ifop:


For 80 years, Ifop has been the industry benchmark for opinion polls and market research. Our approach is based on a combination of sector-based expertise, business know-how, forecasting and international vision. Our activity is structured around these areas of expertise with 7 specialist divisions for major sector-specific markets (Opinion, Beauty & Wellbeing, Consumer & Retail, Healthcare, Luxury, Media & Digital, Services), 5 entities dedicated to business know-how (Quali Marketing, Data Management, Client Experience & Large Scope Studies, Omnibus, Panels) and an inspiration management unit, InCapsule by Ifop. In 2018, Ifop acquired Sociovision, a company renowned for its expertise in the field of sociological studies.


An agile company fostering close relationships with its clients, Ifop operates in some fifty countries from offices in Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The Beauty sector’s attitude to going local

Consuming locally mainly springs to mind with regard to what ends up in our plate. Nevertheless, the desire for proximity has sowed its seeds in the world of beauty. The concept of going local when it comes to beauty is much less closely correlated to environmental concerns than it is with food. The communication strategies of beauty brands revolve more around their local values, by working with the name, the formula and culture. The expression of this singularity is now on the rise throughout the world.


Hence cracks are appearing in the international beauty landscape and these culturally inspired beauty routines are ever more numerous, but why? What sets them apart?


“Less is more” in Australia


We shall first turn our attention to the Australian take on beauty. Identified as the “the next big thing”, A-beauty is exporting itself and taking up residence outside the island, as illustrated by the fact that Sé has dedicated an entire section to it. True to the spirit of wild Australia, A-Beauty is effortless, refined, natural and sunny (but with a good SPF!). The routine is rendered simple thanks to multi-functional products that rely on efficacious ingredients. It has hedged its bets on a direct and transparent rapport with consumers: “Australian brands say what they do and do what they say”, Kate Morris, founder of Adore Beauty, beauty product retail website.


Ingredients made in Australia: Kakadu plum, Vitamin C, pink clay, Mangosteen


Who: Aésop, Jurlique, Aussie, Lano, Frank Body, Sand & Sky, Nude by Nature



Blend of tradition and modernity in Japan


Further north, J-Beauty reflects beauty which is both ancestral and modern, combining botany and technology, quality and sensoriality: simply on a quest for perfection. We have indeed landed in Japan. Beauty here is impregnated with innovation in keeping with its traditions. In more practical terms, make-up is discreet, moisturizing is a key step and product experience is of the utmost importance. Fragrance, texture and feeling on the body are an integral part of the beauty ritual.


Ingredients made in Japan: Yuzu, rice, green tea, matcha, konjac, miso, ginger, silk cotton, kombu


Who: Shiseido, Shiro, Three Cosmetics, Sekkisei



“Made in” China


Land of opportunity for beauty from western countries as well as its Asian neighbors (Japan, South Korea), China is gradually turning its attention to its own potential with C-Beauty. Rather than folding back on itself, “Created in China” has become an argument, a positioning and translates China’s burgeoning pride for its own culture. Being on a quest for individuality, (young) Chinese people no longer wish to be tied to the yoke imposed from within or elsewhere.


Buoyed by Gen Z, its playground is the digital world, both when it comes to communication via social networks or influencers (“Wanghong”) as well as retail channels (e-commerce, m-commerce, s-commerce). Western brands establish their territories via storytelling. Chinese brands draw on their heritage, inspired in some cases by Chinese traditional medicine, as well as more pragmatic differentiation: results at a lower price. This is beauty which does not merely address the elite. From a geographical standpoint, going local guarantees better accessibility, in particular in Tier 2 cities and below, which represent a real challenge for foreign brands.


Who: Herborist, Pechoin, Chando, Hedone, Front Cover, Amour, Sevenfriend



Playful and pop culture in Korea playful beauty coree


Certainly the best known on the horizon, K-beauty is abundant, maximalist, accumulative with extremely fast temporality. This is collective beauty represented by an ideal that is almost artificial: a young, clear, almost transparent skin, and the v-shape. To achieve this, one needs to keep up with a sophisticated 10-step routine. Korean brands are constantly innovating in terms of product offers, packaging, and sizes ,as well as inventing new routines, one such example being the cloth mask. Hence price remains affordable to make accumulation possible. K-beauty is highly playful: colorful and fun packaging, pop culture codes such as K-pop music, with the Kawaii universe to embrace a cute yet sexy touch.


Who: Sulwhasoo, Erborian, Innisfree, Dr. Jart+, Recipe, Missha



Clean beauty in Germany and Northern European countries


clean beauty

Back to Europe with G-beauty. In Germany, skincare is the source of inspiration for local brands. Much in the same way as the century-old Nivea cream, there is nothing superfluous or really new here, but it is what the skin really needs. This approach is based on the science behind the product with an astute blend of natural ingredients. Brands are associated with a name, a physician who acts as a guarantor of product safety and quality. This is beauty that verges on the medical world, the final touch being the “Deutsche Qualität” stamp!


Who: Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Augustinus Bader, Susanne Kaufmann, Dr. Barbara Sturm


Northern European countries also have their word to say in the beauty sector. The Scandi-beauty mantra “lagom”, i.e. living in a balanced manner neither too much nor too little, is highly relevant here as beauty from the North is holistic. When it comes to being beautiful, everything counts, from physical exercise to diet and skincare. Hence probiotics which take effect within the body are used to reveal one’s beauty. Minimalistic, from the pack to the formula itself, the “no-nasties” or no superfluous ingredients claim is fiercely upheld.


Ingredients made in Scandinavia: spring water, cranberry, birch sap


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Asia, the new experiential stage

From Mass retail to Experiential Retail

Cultural spaces within a mall, trying on clothing in a fashion show setting… French retailers have much to learn from their Japanese, Korean, Thai and Chinese counterparts in terms of client experience.

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The Evolution of Leisure In China


Today Chinese society is in a flux. Both the economic growth as well as the pace of growth of the past 35 odd years has had a massive impact on not just on the economic wellbeing of the Chinese people but also on the society in general. With the increasing affluence levels, higher disposable incomes, access to new product categories and increasing integration into the wider world, has meant not only have the people’s lives changed but also the way they relax, unwind and spend their leisure time.

Unlike in the past where the favorite pastime of most Chinese people was confined to what was acceptable within the social realm, now the same has evolved with the changes in the society. What is acceptable and not acceptable is now more a domain of the individual with the focus firmly on more balanced, engaging and diversified lifestyle.

Consequently we observe evolution of leisure options beyond traditional restaurants, stroll and activities in the neighborhood parks and KTVs to leisure travel, health & beauty, shopping and even online indulgences. This evolution signifies a move away from more basic motivations of safety, nutrition (health) and tradition to more mature-exploration, experience, authenticity, and value proposition.

The Chinese government too has had a hand in this evolution. The government has pushed to increase domestic consumption by providing more days off for Chinese people to spend on leisure activities. In 1995, the government introduced 5-working-day week, providing people with 2 days a week of leisure and rest. In 1997, the golden week and the national day were introduced as additional measures to boost domestic spends. Finally, the new labor law in 2008 was enacted to provide yearly 5 days of paid leave to make Chinese people to connect more with their families and in the process boost the economy.

Explore and Experience

Traditionally for Chinese people, food (a major leisure indulgence) used to be more about nutrition and health. With increasing affluence and consequently travel becoming more common, food is becoming more about experience, authenticity and exploration. Cheese and regional wine are riding high on this wave. 94% of Chinese consumers say they have tried French cheese and were likely to eat some again. Definitely, times are evolving.

While travel on the other hand was previously considered as a leisure activity with a focus on destinations (been there, seen that), it has now shifted more to qualitative and “out-of-time” experience where people want to live the present moment, enjoy  the experience, explore and exchange.

A study conducted by IFOP has shown that Chinese people save for difficult times, for their children’s education and… for travel. In first tier-cities (Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou) travel even emerges as the primary motivation for saving.

Travelling agencies noticed this shift and have tried to seize this new market by offering for instance journeys focused on particular themes such as gastronomy, relaxation (cruise), or sport (hiking) and in the process work on people’s motivation of experience and explore.

Other emerging trends

The younger travelers focus more on independence when it comes to travel and we also see solo or non-tour group travelers on the increase. They are no longer interested just in running from one scenic/tourist spot to other and endure endless bus rides in the process. They now want to experience and live the moment.

Travel aside, we observe rise of health and beauty based leisure avenues. There is a common Chinese belief that to be successful in life, one needs to look good (and of course healthy). This belief is leading to increasing focus on keeping fit and also quick fixing perceived bodily negatives. This aspect is also seen part of leisure and Chinese people are going all for benefiting from options that cater to these needs. While the elderly have the gym and dance in public parks, most young people are hooked to the gym.

People are also opting to go abroad to seek medical attention. It may be for more serious medical conditions or for cosmetic surgeries. This trend has given rise to new travel trends such as medical tourism (e.g. plastic surgery). Countries like Korea, Thailand are hot destinations for Chinese people to travel to get medical attention and also in the process enjoy visiting the country.

Kings of Shopping

Shopping is considered an integral part of leisure activities of Chinese people. To them it’s more than buying. It’s an experience and a social activity. Rise of malls is an example of this trend that caters to these requirements. Chinese people spend a lot of time living the experience of shopping. For instance, when they want to buy a premium beauty product, it all starts with talking to each other (social occasion). It’s followed by an online search for information (personal engagement and involvement) and actual buying of the product in physical stores in China or abroad (experience). It’s not surprising that online channels are now trying to replicate the physical store experience on the website to engage more consumers.

At the same time, shopping malls are becoming a lifestyle and provide a wide range of services to enhance the shopping experience: game rooms, restaurants, beauty salons, and cinemas are much more numerous than in our malls.

Even when it comes to travel, shopping in the world’s biggest cities remain the top motivation irrespective of age or gender. The voracious appetite for shopping can be seen in duty free stores in the world’s major airports as well as high streets.


Talking about online, the digital revolution especially the rise of social media and e-commerce has had deep impact on the way Chinese people conduct their lives and also their leisure habits. Nowadays, it’s very common for Chinese people to explore leisure ideas, discuss travel plans, look out for promotions for hotels, book tours, all using just their smart phones. Smart phones have made information accessible in a magical way and the Chinese people are using it like no other people elsewhere. As a consequence, possibilities are endless and spend time on wechat or weibo is now considered as leisure.

In conclusion, undertaking leisure activities is becoming more and more commonplace among Chinese people. We can fairly say that Chinese people have truly come off age when it comes to their leisure activities and are now looking to further their experience by spending on numerous avenues that offer them such indulgences.    

Article written by Manohar Balivada, Vice President, Ifop, Shanghai. Published in Connexions magazine N.77  

Have Chinese Women Started to Look Beyond Beauty Products?



In China, the importance of beauty can’t be overemphasized especially for women. The concept of beauty which is traditionally dictated by fair and pale skin (boiled egg complexion and tone) is now morphing into emphasis also on sharper and fuller facial and bodily features. The belief that skin care products can only do so much to make one look beautiful is taking roots with women looking for quick fixes such as micro or cosmetic surgeries to achieve perfection in their quest to look beautiful.

According to current market estimates, until 2013 only approximately 5 million Chinese women did one or the other form of cosmetic surgery.  By 2015 this figure rose to over 7 million and by 2018, it’s likely to touch 11 million. Although the figures are minuscule compared to the size of the population, but the growth is estimated to be stronger going forward despite government regulations and societal constraints.

To contextualize, it’s estimated that between 80 to 90% of Chinese women use skincare products and up to 40% use color cosmetics. Assuming the latter group is more into beauty, and as a consequence more likely to undertake cosmetic surgery, the full potential of this market becomes more obvious. A study by Chinese lifestyle magazine SELF and IFOP Asia estimates that approximately 15% of Chinese women are considering doing micro/cosmetic surgery in the future. Considering this figure of 15% who intend to undertake a surgery in the future, the size of the category skyrockets to nearly 40 million potential consumers in the next 5 to 10 years. (15% intenders among 40% color cosmetic users of the total Chinese women population).

In fact, in comparison to their counter parts in more mature neighboring markets, Chinese women undertake such surgeries on a greater scale than even their Japanese counterparts across all treatments/procedures. However the Chinese women get trumped by Korean women although in terms of interest and intent to undertake these treatments/procedures in the future, they in turn trump the latter.

This category predominantly attracts younger females although in recent years Chinese men too have started going under the knife. This is only likely to add to the huge potential of this category. The acceptance of more comprehensive and multiple surgeries are also on the increase. As of now, the popular surgeries are double eye lid  as well as nose job. In the next few years with wider acceptance of the practice, surgeries on other parts of the body too could be commonplace.

The macro reasons for this staggering growth among others, are the increased competition in the job market, the changing societal values, increasing disposable incomes, integration into the wider world and ever more emphasis on personal looks.

According to the SELF & IFOP Asia study, compared to last few years, micro/cosmetic surgeries have become more popular, acceptable and even admired. The study states that micro reasons are multi fold but mostly to do with the continuous propagation of the message in public media, increasing acceptance in the society, open mindedness to having a surgery & the ever increasing desire to look more beautiful and having more youthful skin, both of which are never fully satisfied in spite of increasing spends on beauty care products.

Women of different ages consider these surgeries for different reasons. Fresh graduates, who account for lion’s share of the surgeries undertaken in China, do it predominantly for enhancing their career prospects by building their self esteem (through appearance). A study done by JAMA facial plastic surgery also alludes to this and also suggests that such women also observe an increased level of self efficacy (confidence in ones abilities) compared to before.

The middle aged consumers (25-30 yrs) do it mostly for anti-aging and whitening purposes whilst those who are little older do it for not only anti-aging but also to remove wrinkles, freckles, pigments and bags under their eyes .

Another trend that is also catching up is undergoing cosmetic surgeries abroad. Chinese consumers are also seeking these types of surgeries more and more abroad for both costs as well as safety considerations. According to the Korean Healthcare development institute, in 2012 Chinese consumers accounted for 20% of foreign patients who went to Korea for any medical service and 36% of them sought cosmetic surgery with an average spending of US$1,600. This proportion is only likely to increase given the trends we observe in this market.

With the increasing acceptance and popularity of cosmetic surgery, this industry is only likely to explode in the coming few years with implications for both cosmetic surgeons as well as beauty brands. The need for ‘quick fix beauty’ is increasingly becoming commonplace and more importantly being accepted especially by the younger generations. Beauty brands would do well to think and act on this likely surge of the need for quick fixes. Depending on how they react, this trend would either be a boon or a bane for them.


Article written by Manohar Balivada, Vice President, Ifop, Shanghai