Chi­nese em­brace makeup

Sunday Times - - BUSINESS TIMES -

CHI­NESE mil­len­ni­als are be­com­ing the world’s biggest beauty queens, thanks to the power of the in­ter­net.

Makeup and groom­ing tips prof­fered by pop­u­lar life­style blog­gers are in­spir­ing women in their late teens to early 30s to splurge 585 yuan (about R1 100) on a Tom Ford lip­stick and 1 350 yuan on an 8g com­pact of La Mer’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing foun­da­tion pow­der on­line.

That de­mand helped drive a 20% jump in Estée Lauder’s sales in China in the quar­ter through March, mak­ing it the New York-based group’s fastest-grow­ing cos­met­ics mar­ket.

“In the past, Chi­nese women didn’t put on foun­da­tion, mas­cara and eye­shadow,” said Fabrice We­ber, Estée Lauder’s Asia-Pa­cific pres­i­dent. “To­day, it’s per­fectly OK. Mil­len­ni­als are com­pletely un­in­hib­ited to think ‘I need to look stun­ning’.”

We­ber at­tributes that to the power of so­cial me­dia. Mil­len­ni­als, or peo­ple in the 18-30 age bracket, con­trib­uted about 35% to 40% of Estée Lauder’s sales in China, he said. That’s a larger pro­por­tion of sales than mil­len­ni­als ac­count for on av­er­age glob­ally.

Re­mark­ably, mil­len­ni­als are prom­i­nent buy­ers of the com­pany’s most ex­pen­sive brands.

Re­tail cos­met­ics sales for all com­pa­nies will to­tal $7.4-bil­lion (R97-bil­lion) in China in 2021 from $4.3-bil­lion last year, fore­casts Euromon­i­tor. Fu­elling growth are so­cial-me­dia web­sites, such as Weibo, Youku, iQiyi and Tu­dou, that women are in­creas­ingly turn­ing to for tu­to­ri­als on ev­ery­thing from shad­ing eyes to high­light­ing cheek­bones.

“In­ter­na­tional cos­met­ics brands are rush­ing to China now, fight­ing fiercely for the mar­ket, es­pe­cially the young cus­tomers,” said Cather­ine Lim, a re­tail an­a­lyst with Bloomberg In­tel­li­gence in Singapore. Com­pared with their more so­phis­ti­cated peers in Ja­pan and the US, mil­len­ni­als in China had lower brand loy­alty and were more eas­ily in­flu­enced by beauty blog­gers to try out new prod­ucts, she said. — Bloomberg

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