LuxePulse is a quarterly market analysis of beauty, fashion and hospitality industries, available on an annual subscription. The upcoming LuxePulse Beauty provides a market scan of new retail activity, influencer and celebrity collaborations, reports from outside agencies, market trend analysis and more.
This excerpt looks at how clean beauty continues to rise:
- The Toluna ‘Consumer Reactions to COVID-19’ surveyed over 15,000 consumers across 18 markets, including China, and found that 80% of Chinese consumers, second only to the Philippines, mentioned they will be more health conscious post-COVID-19. 59% said they would be more environmentally conscious.
- The ‘Kantar: China Monitor’ surveyed over 4,000 consumers across Tier 1 to 5 cities and found that after the height of the pandemic, 31% of consumers said they planned to spend more on skincare.
- MediaCom’s ‘Lockdown Lift-Off’ looked at how consumers are responding recently, finding that hygiene will become a key purchase criterion.
The past months have visibly impacted many aspects of consumers’ lives. Skin has been no exception. For weeks, being confined indoors, possibly exercising less, and very likely eating more comfort foods, have left their marks on consumers’ skins. Moreover, constant use of detergents, hand sanitizers and face masks have left many consumers’ skins irritated, red, sensitive and in a rash.
Many recent surveys reflect the fact that consumers are now more proactively looking after their skin. A Mintel survey showed 80% of Chinese consumers prioritizing safety in choosing skincare products. Recent CBNData research also confirms this finding as respondents ranked safety over efficacy as a priority product attribute. AlixPartners’ survey, though from 2019, found that purchasing healthy or clean beauty products was important to 90% of Chinese consumers surveyed. A global pandemic has only accelerated this demand growth.
Wearing protective face masks for months on end, and some continuing to do so even now when wearing them is not mandatory in all cities, has made consumers look for remedies to improve their “face mask face.” While colour cosmetics sales decreased during the height of the outbreak in China during Q1, skincare, particularly face masks, remained resilient. March saw a surge of 57% in month-on-month sales of face masks. And while the starting point in February was lower than the same period in 2019, it still demonstrates the interest of consumers in looking after their skin.
Netizens also talked about what to do about their “face mask face.” The Weibo hashtag #口罩脸抗敏接力# (Mask face anti-sensitivity relay) has been viewed 240 million times and included in 445,000 discussions. Weibo users as well as skincare professionals shared tips for preventing “mask face.” Another hashtag on Weibo #拯救口罩脸# save your mask face) that also saw sharing of tips has been viewed 6.5 million times and included in over 16,000 discussions on the platform.
A number of clean and science-backed brands have entered the China market recently, such as CeraVe, REN, and Drunk Elephant. Brands are also increasingly talking about their clean credentials, so we are seeing terms, such as “made for sensitive skin”, “no additives”, “no harmful ingredients” appears in brands’ marketing collateral more than before. However, as the Mintel Clean Beauty report notes, consumers still struggle to properly understand the clean beauty category and claim that they struggle to find suitable products.
This all points to the vast opportunity for brands to tap into the growing trend in China for clean beauty with products and education targeted to relevant consumer segments.
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