Asian beauty brands are outperforming their European and American counterparts when it comes to their digital competence in China, according to research firm L2.

Korean and Japanese brands saw double-digit growth in their Digital IQ in China this year while European and American brands saw their indicators drop, according to L2’s calculations.

L2 singled out Amore Pacific brands Innisfree and Laneige as standouts in terms of their digital know-how.

“Both brands aggressively use sampling to drive trial and awareness – Innisfree on Beauty community sites, Laneíge on mobile-based communities. In addition, Innisfree boasts a sophisticated direct-to-consumer brand site and cross-channel loyalty program, and Laneíge is the most mentioned brand on microblogging platform Sina Weibo, garnering more than 21,000 mentions per month,” said L2.

L2 also noted that Asian beauty brands have an advantage over their Western competitors in terms of their website optimization. While 77 percent of Japanese and Korean brands and 90 percent of Chinese brands host their websites in China, just a third of western brands do, L2 said.

“This failure directly affects online sales: load times for sites hosted outside China are more than double those of locally hosted sites, and most Chinese consumers say they would shop elsewhere if faced with a slow-performing site,” L2 said.

A free trade agreement signed earlier this year between China and South Korea is expected to be a boon for Korean beauty and fashion brands looking to expand their businesses in China.

The worlds of both fashion and beauty are showing increasing interest in South Korea as a trend-setting market. Case in point, Korean beauty brands figured prominently at the most recent edition of the Cosmoprof Asia fair in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, e-commerce player JD.com announced it was linking with the Korean Fashion Association to sell goods from new and emerging fashion brands. Seoul fashion week is gaining international traction. Meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld mined the country’s cultural motifs for a Chanel cruise collection earlier this year.

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