Increase In Sales Indicates Higher-End Online Cosmetics Shopping Entering Mainstream
This week, the Chinese online shopping portal Taobao (previously on Jing Daily) released its sales data for 2010. Following recent predictions from PricewaterhouseCoopers that China will soon see an online retail “explosion,” categories like luxury cosmetics — a closely watched consumer segment — recorded a significant rise in sales last year. This, according to the Chinese-language news site CCW, indicates an important shift in the development of China’s online retail sector, namely that higher-end online shopping has now made its way firmly into the mainstream.
Considering the brand’s impressive brick-and-mortar sales and popularity among mainland Chinese tourists in Hong Kong, it’s perhaps no surprise that Estée Lauder was the best-selling cosmetics brand on Taobao last year, followed by Mary Kay and Clinique. As Jing Daily noted last year, Estée Lauder has invested heavily in the China market, introducing its Asia-focused “Pure Color Metamorphosis” line at a lavish event in Beijing in November, appointing Chinese supermodel Liu Wen as its global brand spokeswoman, and launching its Origins line in Shanghai. This investment appears to have paid off, as Estée Lauder is now the fastest-growing cosmetics brand in China, recording a 43% rise in year-over-year sales in 2010.
The overall top ten best-selling cosmetics brands on Taobao, 2010:
1. Estée Lauder
2. Mary Kay
7. The Face Shop
10. The Body Shop
Going further, Taobao released a detailed breakdown of its top-selling makeup brands. Reflecting the ever-increasing popularity of Korean cosmetics, this list was headed by South Korea’s Missha, which has seen great success in the China market via its “BB Cream” line. Originally developed as an ointment for irritated skin, a number of Korean cosmetics companies now produce BB (Blemish Balm) Cream products, which are often advertised by TV actresses who are popular in Korea and elsewhere in Asia. In mainland China, references to Korean BB Cream on the Taiwanese television program “Queen” (女人我最大) and other variety shows have powered sales over the last two years, catapulting major manufacturers like Missha over international juggernauts like Dior.
Top ten best-selling makeup brands on Taobao in 2010:
7. Estée Lauder
8. The Face Shop
9. Carslan (卡姿兰)
One aspect of Taobao’s 2010 results that has surprised some in the Chinese-language media is the jump in sales of men’s cosmetics. After a 27% increase in 2009 on Taobao, the men’s skincare market leapt 40% year-over-year in 2010, according to CCW. Though it’s only about one-fifth the size of the female cosmetics market, analysts see a great deal of potential in this segment, particularly as Chinese men look beyond watches and pens to denote status and put more effort into their appearance.
Top seven best-selling men’s cosmetics brands on Taobao in 2010:
1. Chetti Rouge
2. Menplus (男性主义)
5. Bossdun (波斯顿)