L’Oréal Won Double 11, But At What Cost?

    After topping Tmall’s Double 11 cosmetics sales ranking, L’Oréal has been accused of false advertising. How can the brand gain back consumer trust?
    After topping Tmall’s Double 11 cosmetics sales ranking, L’Oréal has been accused of false advertising. How can the brand gain back consumer trust? Photo: Shutterstock
      Published   in Beauty

    What happened

    After topping Tmall's Double 11 cosmetics sales ranking, L’Oréal is now topping Weibo's list of hottest searches — but not for its outstanding accomplishments during the shopping festival. Instead, it is because consumer complaints have surged against the brand as many found out the price of its masks (67) — advertised at their “lowest price of the year” — was 66-percent higher during presale livestreams (including those run by Viya and Austin Li) than the prices during L’Oreal’s livestream on November 11 (40).

    As the issue continued to bubble, the hashtag #L’Oréalaccusedoffalseadvertising trended on Weibo, reaching 150 million views. The tags #AustinLiandViyastoppedtheircollaborationwithL’Oréal and #Nearly100kConsumershavereportedL’OréalonHeimao garnered 270 and 220 million views, respectively.

    The Jing Take

    During this year’s Double 11, L’Oréal took in a record-high turnover of 313.6 million (2 billion yuan). But this remarkable achievement has been followed by a nightmare. Many netizens believe the brand’s practices constitute fraud. It remains unclear whether it is or not, but the longer the brand allows shoppers to go without an explanation or resolution, the more in danger it will be of having its image tarnished. Considering the nature of Double 11, China’s largest shopping carnival during which shoppers stockpile products thanks to low-priced promotional offerings, the level of anger felt by consumers is understandable.

    Additionally, both consumers and anchors are demanding a refund of the price difference, which would involve millions of dollars since L’Oréal's mask has sold over one hundred million units. Aside from what the shoppers demand, the beauty giant must also offer a reasonable resolution to save its reputation in this fast-growing market — or perhaps lose it.

    So is Double 11 still worth the effort? The competition is getting fiercer, as an increasing number of brands have joined e-commerce platforms for the convenience of hyper-digitalized consumers. However, with the diversification of online, offline, and livestreaming channels, it has become challenging for consumers to understand where they can purchase products at the lowest price.

    Lately, many netizens have expressed that they would prefer to buy products at normal prices when they need them rather than calculating numerous coupons and discounts to get the best price for something they might not even need. Double 11 continues to be an important event for boosting brand and product exposure, but brands should place a focus on establishing positive relationships with end consumers rather than pursuing skyrocketing GMV.

    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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