Chinese embrace makeup
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