Nars’ rapid ascent: Brand tops Tmall 618 shopping festival rankings

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What Happened: French cosmetics brand Nars secured the top position in this year’s 618 beauty cosmetics pre-sales rankings on Tmall, achieving impressive sales of $1.9 million (14 million RMB). It’s the first time Nars has claimed the annual mid-year shopping festival’s top spot. Global brands Mac, YSL Beauty, Make Up Forever, and Clé de Peau Beauté took the other four positions in the top five. 

Notably, C-beauty brand Florasis, a consistent contender since the 2019 Double 11 festival, did not make it into the top 10 this time. The only domestic name to secure a spot on the top 10 list was Timage (彩棠), a cosmetic label developed by Chinese skincare giant Proya. The lesser-known beauty brand ranked sixth in the pre-sales rankings, followed by Givenchy Beauty, 3CE, Estée Lauder, and Lancôme.

Nars pop up installation in Changsha in 2023. Image: Nars’ official Weibo

The Jing Take: French cosmetics label Nars achieved this remarkable accomplishment having only debuted on Tmall’s top 10 cosmetics rankings for last year’s 618 event.

From foundations, lipsticks, and highlighters to loose powders and its renowned ‘Orgasm’ blush, Nars is a favored brand among local makeup enthusiasts. The brand has sparked over 440,000 instances of related user-generated content (UGC) on Xiaohongshu, with many calling it the makeup guru. 

Aside from the Orgasm blush, Nars’ Light Reflecting Foundation is also making waves in China. The company has ridden on the momentum, further expanding sales with the help of influential KOLs and KOCs in Xiaohongshu. According to Takayuki Yokota, CFO of Shiseido, which owns Nars, plans are afoot to enhance the makeup label’s foundation offering. 

CBNData finds that the makeup segment’s potential in China is immense. As of September 2022, makeup base sales accounted for 33.86 percent of the cosmetics and fragrances market. It’s estimated that base makeup sales in China will exceed $8.4 billion (60 billion RMB) in 2025.

From foundations, lipsticks, and highlighters to loose powders and its renowned ‘Orgasm’ blush, Nars is a favored brand among local makeup enthusiasts. Image: Nars’ official Weibo

However, the segment is becoming increasingly crowded as domestic players vie for market share, with labels like Mao Geping and Blank Me expanding by creating foundations tailored to Asian skin types. For instance, Blank Me collected data from seven cities across China to build a skin optical chromatography system exclusively for Chinese women. 

These local brands will likely make their presence felt during next year’s 618 festival.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


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