While China remains one of the most important markets for Western brands to excel in, it has also become increasingly complex. Both local and South Korean brands are quickly gaining ground in the market, as are specialty chains and online retailers. At the same time, consumers are becoming ever-more sophisticated and demanding as they are inundated with information from multiple sources. In such a competitive environment, the country’s top beauty editors have solidified their credibility in the eyes of consumers. Here, four leading journalists from the style world weigh in on the evolution of the Chinese beauty market, and share their views on where it’s headed.
How have you seen the beauty attitudes and purchasing habits of Chinese women evolve since you started covering the market?
Valerie Zhang: I began as a beauty editor 13 years ago, and Chinese women have changed a lot. First, they can get more trend information from different kinds of media, like social platforms, Web sites and print media. They know much more compared to women in the last generation. Second, we have more choices now. About 15 years ago, China had less than 50 international beauty brands. But now, numerous brands are here. At the same time, consumers are always confused by how to choose the “best” products for themselves. Third, China has become a more and more important market in the world. Fifteen years ago, nobody could imagine that an international brand would design a product only for the Chinese market. But now, not only are there many specially designed products, but also a lot of custom-made brands for China. The young generation likes to spend more money on beauty purchasing. They could spend all their salary on luxury products, but the elder women don’t do that—they prefer to put money in the bank.
And travelling is so common to Chinese women now. They buy lots of products from every country. Because of the high taxes here, beauty products are always much more expensive compared to abroad.
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