Young Men Drive the Skincare Market in China

    With more disposable income than ever, young Chinese men are building skincare habits earlier, becoming the new driving force for the male beauty market.
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Beauty

    As the rise of the “Little Fresh Meat” celebrity phenomenon and K-pop stars have challenged traditional standards of male beauty, young Chinese men who are between 18 and 26, and have increasingly more disposable income, are becoming the new driving force for the male beauty market.

    The mainland male skincare and cosmetics products market is expected to reach 1.9 billion yuan in 2019, according to research by the consulting firm Euromonitor International, which is projected to grow twice as fast as the global cosmetics market.

    Young men are beginning to build skin care habits early, according to a study released in April by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, compared to their elders. Some Chinese men in high school have even begun the habit of using basic facial cleansing products, and as they get older, their skincare routine develops to be more complex, by the time they enter university or the workforce, applying different types of skincare products to improve their skin condition has become the norm.

    Driving their consumption in the skincare market are many factors, according to the study, some respondents are more concerned about their skin health: “The air pollution in China now is very serious," said one Weibo user. "It greatly affects the skin quality.”

    Some said their habit formed as a result of the influence of their girlfriend or wife. In addition, with the introduction of exclusive product lines for men, they are more likely to cultivate skincare habits. Research even seeing increasing demand for cosmetic products like BB cream, eyebrow pencil, concealer.

    As consumers develop diverse needs, more varieties of male skin care products are emerging. According to a 2016 Beauty report released by Amazon China, on their list of the top 100 skin care products of 2016, L'Oreal and Nivea ranked top on the list, professional men's skincare brands like Biotherm, L'Oreal, Lab Series and other brands have been favored by the male consumer.

    One thing to take note when marketers target mainland consumers, mainland consumers tend to form different perceptions towards skin care and cosmetics brands in different countries or regions, as discovered by HK Trade Development Council during the interview with mainland skin care products and cosmetics agents. For example, consumers generally believe that Swiss brands focus on medical beauty, American brands tend to make the formula of their products more advanced, and Japanese brands feature whitening effects, which are more suitable for Asian skin.

    The per capita consumption gap between male and female buyers has been reduced from 26.6 yuan in 2014 to 13.7 yuan, according to the research compiled by e-commerce giant JD. com on the consumption of beauty products in China in 2017. Even though male skincare products and cosmetics brands and product categories are far less diverse than those in the women’s market, the future growth of the men's market is vast as there will be more foreign brands entering the mainland market.

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