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Monthly Digest: China Cosmetics Industry Review | August 2021

Market Updates

1.       In 2021H1, the duty-free shopping revenue on Hainan island reached 26.767 billion yuan, increasing 257.2% year-on-year. The most popular products were cosmetics, watches, and jewelry.

2.       According to the financial report released by Kuaishou, its e-commerce GMV reached 145.4 billion yuan in 2021H1, twice that of the same period last year. Kuaishou store’s contribution to the total e-commerce GMV increased to 90.7% in 2021Q2, implying that Kuaishou’s reliance on external links is siginificantly reduced.

Company Dynamics

1.       Invested by Givaudan, the Swiss flavor and fragrance giant, Next Beauty, an e-commerce operating company, completed its A round of financing. This company is committed to introducing overseas high-end perfume and beauty brands into China. In less than three years, it has successfully launched over 15 brands in China.

2.       On August 2, Florasis Oriental Beauty Research Institute was officially inaugurated in Hangzhou. This institute will cooperate with over ten top beauty research institutes to study oriental cosmetics in the future.

3.       Nono Notes, an emerging domestic makeup brand, announced that it completed its Angle-round of financing, securing millions of yuan. This brand’s biggest selling point is that the team has created a virtual girl, Nono, to personate the brand. Nono is a naughty girl who likes eating and having fun. All products’ design is inspired by Nono’s daily life. In the future, the team will give Nono more looks and create more IPs as Nono’s friends.


Nono Notes’ products

4.       In August, P&G and Coty (China) were both fined by governments for misleading publicity. From this May to August, several big international cosmetic companies were involved in 9 administrative penalty cases, such as Estee Lauder, L’ Oreal, Sephora, etc. More details can be found on ChemLinked.

5.       Guerlain, a beauty brand from LVMH Group, entered in August. Guerlain JD official store covers three categories, perfume, skincare, and cosmetics.

6.       Seedory (种子宣言), a Chinese functional skincare brand, completed Pre-A round of financing, securing tens of millions of yuan. Founded in 2021, this brand uses herbs as the main ingredient to produce natural functional skincare products. The brand also cooperates with the world's top fermentation factories, using bionic low-temperature fermentation technology to develop products.

7.       Watsons announced that it would launch a new function, Foundation Finder, in its official mobile app, designed to help users find the most suitable foundation shade. This function will be first launched in two versions of Watsons App, Chinese Hong Kong version and the Malaysian version of Watsons APP first, and then will be further promoted to more Asian markets by the end of this year. Watsons claims that users only need to take a selfie and answer a few simple questions about their skin type and style preference to find a foundation that perfectly matches them.


8.       Simpcare, recently completed its 7th round of financing in the recent two years, securing over 300 million yuan, making its value reach 4 billion yuan. Simpcare used to be a well-known domestic skin care brand focusing on CBD. After the CBD ban in China, it quickly stopped selling CBD products and turned to another popular market - functional skincare, focusing on sensitive skin.

9.       On August 26, Shiseido Group sold its high-end makeup brands Laura Mercier, BareMinerals, and Buxom to private equity fund Advent International. The group plans to focus more on the skincare sector in the future, and it expected that, by 2023, skincare products will account for 80% of sales, comparing to the current proportion is about 60%.

10.   On August 30, Frost Cabin (林清轩) completed B round of financing, securing hundreds of millions of yuan. Founded in 2003, Frost Cabin commits to using traditional Chinese herb to produce safe and natural products. Now it has more than 400 offline stores in over 100 cities in China. Its ace product is Camellia Oil.


Frost Cabin’s ace product: Camellia Oil

Data Browsing

1.       According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in July, China’s total retail sales of consumer goods reached 3.4925 trillion yuan, a YoY increase of 8.5%. Among them, the total retail sales of cosmetics were 23.9 billion yuan, a YoY increase of 1.8%. The retail sales growth rate didn’t perform well in July because July is an offseason for cosmetics. The rebound of COVID19 also affected the economy.

2.       Among TOP50 beauty Douyin stores, Proya ranked first in July with a GMV of 94.497 million yuan, followed by Florasis, whose monthly GMV was 70.846 million yuan. Overseas cosmetic stores also performed well on Douyin. Among the TOP10 stores, overseas flagship stores occupied 4 seats. YMatou overseas flagship store ranked the third with a GMV of 69.186 million yuan.

3.       Mintel’s latest report shows that due to the impact of the epidemic, the growth rate of China's perfume market in 2020 will drop from 11% in 2019 to 1%. The market trend has also changed, that is, the proportion of Chinese urban consumers’ perfume consumption for personal use has dropped significantly. It dropped from 55% to 48%, while the proportion of buying perfumes as gifts remained stable, increasing from 41% to 42%. However, the perfume market is expected to recover and accelerate its growth in the post-epidemic era quickly. It will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17% in the next five years, with market sales expected to reach 15.439 billion yuan in 2025.

Financial Result

L'Oréal group   2021H1

  • Sales reached 15.19 billion euros, an increase rate of 20.7% like-for-like. The second quarter witnessed an exceptional growth at 33.5%.

  • Market share gains in all Divisions and all geographic Zones

  • E-commerce continues to post very strong growth at 29.2%.

Estée Lauder Companies   FISCAL  2021

  • Nets sales reached $16.22 billion, an increase of 13%. Fourth-quarter net sales growth accelerated to 62%.

  • Domestic travel in China, especially in Hainan, and some other travel corridors in Asia/Pacific and the Americas were open and drove double-digit growth for fiscal 2021.

  • In mainland China, net sales grew strong double-digits led by continued strength in skincare, an acceleration in fragrance growth, and the initial recovery in makeup during the year. Net sales growth benefited from successful programs during key shopping events, including the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival and the 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival. Nearly every brand grew, led by luxury brands. Sales increased double digits in every channel.

Shiseido 2021H1

  • Net sales reached 507,687 million yen, an increase of 21.5%.

  • The competition in the Chinese market was still intense, but it achieved over a 30% growth rate.

  • In the travel retail sector, mainland China & Hainan market have been showing robust growth since Q2 2020.


  • Net sales reached 89.055 million yen, an increase of 6.3%. Operating income was 9.095 million yen, an increase of 54.7%.

  • In the first half of 2021, China's business (including cross-border e-commerce) as a whole grew by 96% year-on-year, among which online by 49%, and offline by 140%.

  • POLA has steadily expanded its business mainly in China and in travel retail, which has largely driven the POLA brand as a whole. As a result, while COVID-19 continues to have an impact, POLA brand net sales and operating income rose year on year.

Botanee Group (Parent company of Winona)   2021H1

  • Operating revenue achieved 1.412 billion yuan, an increase of 49.94%. Operating profit increased by 66.82% to reach 320 million yuan.

  • Sales from self-operated e-commerce channels reached 128.7 million yuan, implying that Winona is building its private traffic pool and achieved certain results.

Imeik (Domestic hyaluronic acid giant) 2021H1

  • Operating revenue was 633million yuan, an increase of 161.87%. Net profit was 425 million yuan, an increase of 188.86%.

Regulatory compliance

1.       On Aug. 2, 2021, China State Administration for Market Regulation released the finalized Supervision and Administration Measures on Cosmetics Manufacture and Operation, which will come into force on Jan. 1, 2022. More details on ChemLinked.

2.       To further standardize the cosmetic notification and registration work, and push enterprises to implement their main responsibility, China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) introduced several processing measures in August to provide cosmetic enterprises with direction. More details on ChemLinked.

3.       On August 11, National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) released an article, Scientific Understanding of “Acid Brush” (《科学认识刷酸》). In daily life, people use “brush acid” to describe using cosmetics that contain acid. However, NMPA states that “brush acid” is a method of chemical peel, which is a medical concept referring to applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove the top layers, and shouldn’t be used to refer to general acid cosmetics. After that, Douyin e-commerce released a new rule to forbid the use of “brush acid” on the platform.

4.       On August 17, the State Administration for Market Regulation released the "Regulations on Prohibition of Unfair Competition Acts on the Internet (Draft for Public Comment)" to regulate the misconducts, such as "choose one out of two (referring to e-commerce platforms force merchants to only open stores on their platform)", false publicity, and false orders. The punishment for false publicity is a maximum of 2 million yuan fine, and the revoking of business license. Several big cosmetics companies have been fined recently for false publicity. More details on ChemLinked.

5.       Another two new cosmetic ingredients have been successfully filed on National Medical Products Administration: Tissue Culture of Saussurea Inolucrata andβ-Alanyl Hydeoxyprolydiaminobutyroyl Benzylamide. So far, four new cosmetic ingredients filed this year are all filed by Chinese companies.

Tags : ChinaBusiness
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