Your Chinese Beauty Consumer Wants You to Innovate, Educate & Personalise

4 minute read

By Adam Sandzer, Hot Pot Strategy Director

There has been a growing sense of convergence between Chinese and Western consumer attitudes, preferences and behaviours. Undoubtedly, exposure to international brands and cultures has given rise to significant influence but at Hot Pot we believe it remains vital to focus on nuance and understand how to reach and appeal to your Chinese target audiences. 

Between Q2 2019 and Q1 2020, we looked at the similarities and differences between mid-income cosmetics and skincare buyers across London, Shanghai and Chengdu using targeted survey data (sourced from GWI). Below we share some of our key findings: 

Privacy is fundamental across Shanghai, Chengdu and London but status, altruism and image consciousness continue to have a much stronger influence on Chinese beauty consumers


Whilst Londoners value family and equality, beauty consumers in Shanghai and Chengdu are more focused on developing new skills and seizing opportunities in life


Search engines are number 1 across all 3 locations but Chinese beauty consumers are significantly more reliant on social media and mobile apps such as WeChat and Little Red Book when making purchase decisions


Innovation is the most important consideration for Chinese beauty consumers’ perception of brand quality. They are also seeking youthfulness, trendiness, humour and exclusivity much more than their London counterparts.


Social responsibility and being eco-friendly are increasingly important considerations across all 3 cities. Chinese beauty consumers particularly seek brands that help them improve knowledge or skills, help them organise or simplify their life and offer customised or personalised products.


Evidently, there are important differences in preferences and behaviours that brands looking to market to Chinese consumers need to be aware of. The gap between Shanghai and Chengdu consumers is not as wide as that with London but there is nonetheless nuance that necessitates a tailored localised approach for regional campaigns. 

Most of the surveys were taken prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 and lockdown, from which most Chinese consumers have now emerged and returned to ‘normality’. However, from review of the specific Q1 2020 data it appears that the crisis has only served to accelerate existing trends and prevailing attitudes. In particular, there is a stronger belief that “life is the real luxury” and beauty brands that innovate and personalise as well as consciously enable consumers to elevate their status, develop new skills and organise themselves are the most likely to succeed.


Key takeaways:

  • It is vital to understand nuance in preferences and behaviour between consumers in your home market and China
  • Compared with UK consumers, Chinese beauty consumers are much more interested in brands that innovate, educate and personalise
  • Covid-19 has served to entrench and accelerate attitudes, preferences and behaviours rather than replace them

At Hot Pot China we partner with forward-thinking brands on their China activity. We guide our clients in maximising ROI from their short, medium and long-term marketing activity with Chinese consumers, both in China and in domestic markets.

Contact Hot Pot China here to discuss how our team of China specialists can help realise greater value for your brand, digital and eCommerce initiatives.

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