[Market Analysis] Current Trends in China's Male Cosmetics Market

  •   6 Sep 2017
  •    Giacomo Colaci Cirillo

    Male Cosmetic is still an underdeveloped sector of China’s cosmetic industry but there is huge room for future development. In this article we will talk about the characteristics of this market and provide a case study of compliance requirements for 2 popular products.Male Cosmetic is still an underdeveloped sector of China’s cosmetic industry but there is huge room for future development. In this article we will talk about the characteristics of this market and provide a case study of compliance requirements for 2 popular products.

    The cosmetics market shows evident differences based on the gender of the target market. The vast majority of cosmetic products sold to guys are face products and “fixing products”, aimed at correcting facial flaws like acne, eye bags, etc.
     
    However, males attach more and more importance to their appearance and we can’t ignore the potential of this market. Some studies (HKTDC) forecast an increase in the volume of male cosmetics sold in China of 13.5 % by 2019 (1.9 billion $), much more than the overall world growth of 5.8%.

    What influences male cosmetic purchases?

    Advertisement Methods

    One of the main characteristics of this market is the rather traditional way customers get information about products: most males declared that TV advertisement still plays a consistent role in their decision making process, with online videos and in-shop product display following closely. Higher income people also indicated magazines as a source of info. Unlike female consumers, it is not very common for males to exchange information about cosmetics.

    Another difference compared to women is that men will only purchase another product when the first is finished and they are not likely to buy a product in advance for storage. Also, most men already have a product in mind before purchase, but a consistent percentage declared that they can be easily persuaded if a professional promoter approaches them to advertise something new. The proportion of planned purchase versus unplanned purchase is approximately 6 to 4, and it is subject to income difference: wealthier buyers are more willing to buy instantly because of their higher spending capacity (HKTDC).

    Purchasing Channels
    The most common purchasing channel is undoubtedly the internet which accounts for 55% of total purchases. Flagship stores come in second accounting for 44%, followed by key account purchasing and household and cosmetic products shops (HKTDC).

    The main reason for people to choose internet purchasing is lower price and delivery, with a good percentage of younger customers stating that buying from the internet provides a bigger choice of products.
     
    In Beijing, Nanjing and Qingdao online purchases exceed brick and mortar ones and in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Chongqing, Qingdao, Changzhou and Wuxi the average expense for male cosmetics exceeds the national average.

    On the other side, the main reason for people to still choose brick and mortar over online purchases is that this way they can see the real product and also because of the presence of trained professional sellers. This is why the proportion of purchasers most willing to try a product in brick and mortar stores before buying it is higher among mature customers.

    Brand
    Brand is one of the most important factors to consider when analyzing customer preferences in this market; products especially designed and marketed for guys are generally favored over “gender neutral” ones and brand loyalty is much higher in males than in female customers, with a huge 30% of males usually buying only 1-2 brands (HKTDC). This is due to two different factors: first of all, male-specific brands are fewer in number and secondly as we said word of mouth, which is one of the most common reasons for a customer to change a long time used product for another is not common among guys. Customers often know no alternatives to the product they purchase often, and this is why this kind of brand loyalty is commonly referred to as “Passive Brand Loyalty”. 

    Which cosmetics do males buy?
     
    Male cosmetic products, previously confined to the cramped world of grooming products and simple cleansing lotions have expanded into a wide array of toners, body lotions, facial masks, moisturizing creams and perfumes. Skin cleansing creams and masks are the most widely purchased. Besides skin care products, younger generations are starting to use make-ups such as BB Cream and Skin Color Correctors.
     
    Skin care products

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