LVMH-backed beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics — best known for its blushes, eyebrow products and brow grooming services — is downscaling in China. It will close its Tmall, JD.com, and Douyin online flagship stores on January 28.
At the time of writing, the brand’s flagship store can no longer be found on JD.com, Benefit has cleared all its products from its Douyin flagship store, and its Tmall flagship store is still open but has issued a store closure announcement.
The label’s local team announced that consumers will be able to continue purchasing Benefit products at high-end beauty multibrand retailer Sephora, which is owned by LVMH, and operates over 322 brick-and-mortar stores across 88 cities in China. On Tmall, JD.com, and Douyin, the retailer has nearly 7.5 million combined followers.
The decision is part of the brand’s China business and distribution adjustment plan, which does not entail giving up the lucrative market, but focuses on improving operational efficiency. Currently, Benefit still has five beauty counters in Mainland China, located in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Kunming, and Xi’an.
The Jing Take
Tmall, JD.com, and Douyin are the three leading e-tailers in China. Almost 99 percent of China’s young consumers regularly shop there. Benefit has amassed nearly 2.5 million followers on the three platforms, and exiting from them further reduces its market share in the Chinese beauty market.
However, the decline of Benefit has been increasingly evident over the past years. The label, famous for its eyebrow pencils, is competing against many up-and-coming C-beauty players, including Girlcult, Florasis, and Perfect Diary, which offer cheaper alternatives and are quicker to respond to market needs. On the other hand, Japanese beauty brand Shu Uemura has consolidated awareness of its eyebrow pencil among young consumers through collaborations with photo studio Himomaster.
Benefit is not an isolated case. Many brands, both local and international, are struggling to keep afloat amid China’s post-pandemic economic slowdown, as well as the nation’s crowded beauty sector.
This year, at least five homegrown beauty brands have shuttered – from 2021 to now, more than 20 Chinese brands, including quirky makeup brand Fomomy and glittering eye palette-maker Its Focus, have closed.
In the past three years, 21 global brands, some of which are backed by beauty giants L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, and Procter & Gamble, have closed their online flagship stores and offline boutiques in China, namely First Aid Beauty, Snowberry, Maybelline, Glam Glow, Too Faced and more.
In the same period, more than 30 new international brands, such as Aveda, Lancaster, and Orveda, have entered the Chinese market.
iiMedia data shows that approximately 32 percent of new cosmetics brands globally enter the Chinese market every year. Simultaneously, 25.5 percent of products already on the market disappear. Despite being a massive and lucrative market, the fast pace of brand replacement in China is merciless, placing both established and emerging players on the edge of survival.
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.