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Chinese Cosmetic Consumers Penchant for Novel Products (Video)

  •   25 Dec 2018
  •    Winnie Xu & Hedy He
  •  854
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    Takehome: Nowadays Chinese consumers, especially the young, are constantly in the search for novelty, a trend which has had an increasingly large influence on their purchasing preferences. Products that bear unusual packaging styles or marketed with interesting concepts combined with other recognized brands are both eye-catching and popular. This article is going to share some of these popular cosmetics in China.


    The first type is about the integration of Chinese cosmetic brands and time-honored snack brands.

    1. Milk-flavored lip balm

    This candy-flavored lip balm, a tie-up between White Rabbit (a Chinese candy brand) and Maxam (a Chinese cosmetic brand) launched in September with the packaging designed like White Rabbit milk candy, which is an iconic chewy sweet that generations of Chinese children have grown up with.

    The lip balm brings back a strong sense of nostalgia among consumers. It was widely reported in Chinese media and has received more than 12,000 reposts in Weibo (Chinese twitter) before sales opened. 920 lip balms of the first batch were snapped up in seconds on the online retailer, Tmall. Maxam continued to increase inventories as consumers kept showing great purchasing desire.

    2. Cushion compact

    Likewise, another China’s domestic cosmetic enterprise Chando cooperated with a renowned snack brand—Wantwant and jointly introduced a cushion compact with the packaging designed like the iconic Chinese snack Wantwant Rice Crackers at the Double 11 shopping festival. 20,000 pieces were sold out in the first half an hour. Amazing sales speed and volume.

    While examples of genius collaborations are also commonplace outside China, such as the lipsticks launched by Coca-Cola and The Face Shop, blusher, eyeshadow, lipsticks released by Holika Holika and Fujiya-Peko, this is a relatively new trend in China.

    Another type worth mentioning involves crossover cooperation with cartoon images, traditional culture, etc.

    A good example is Forbidden City-Themed Makeups, adding Chinese traditional elements into cosmetic packaging, thus touching off a lipstick-buying boom.

    With the success of these products, we may see more companies will put efforts on studying consumer psychology (consumers born after 1980s and 1990s have accounted for 30% of the skin care market.) and developing products with interesting ideas.

    Another thing shall be aware of is the potential regulatory compliance problems associated with developing these novel products especially claims regarding the labeling of these products.

    Lip balm jointly designed by Maxam and White Rabbit was once ordered by National Medical Products Administration to correct the packaging, adding the instruction “This product is a cosmetic, not edible. Put it in a place where children cannot reach” in the prominent position.


    Lip balm packaging after correction

    Loquat Skin Juice Refresher


    Also on August 30 this year, a skin lotion named Loquat Skin Juice Refresher was ordered to cease all sales and production activities by NMPA. The products which were already on the market also had to be recalled. As the lotion’s packaging is very much like a beverage and it bears the labeling claim “fresh and juicy”, this lead to its accidental consumption by children, and deemed to be a violation of provisions included in the "Administrative Provisions on Cosmetics Labelling" which stated that cosmetic labels and claims should not use language, graphics or symbols which may mislead consumers.

    In sight of the regulations, 1) exaggerated, false 2) medical 3) misleading 4) illegal claims are prohibited from appearing on the packaging. Regulatory authorities will require companies to make necessary adjustments to any labels/packaging that could confer a potential safety risk. Serious violation of label/packaging regulations will require the recall of the products. So enterprises should always remember that value can only be created on the base on compliance.

    *Special thanks to the speaker Julia for her kind support.

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