What European beauty brands need to know about Chinese consumer trends - S’Young International

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

What European beauty brands need to know about Chinese consumer trends - S’Young International

Related tags China

Launching into the Chinese beauty market is notoriously hard for European brands due to the cultural and language barriers, yet it can be a highly lucrative move when successful, says a Chinese partner company that has worked with the likes of Johnson & Johnson and Jo Loves.

Many Chinese luxury consumers place high value on European prestige beauty brands and S'Young International spotted this need and built its business around partnering with overseas brands that want to sell in China but don’t know where to start.

The company has already worked with a host of well-known international brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Jo Loves and Kiko Milano and continues to see strong success with its business model.

S'Young International works with international beauty brands via its CP (China Partner) model, which is designed to help the brand navigate the Chinese market with an omnichannel business model. It offers partners support in terms of product incubation, marketing, operations and logistics on a multi-dimensional basis. 

When discussing its business, a spokesperson for S’Young International explained: “We value our deep partnerships with our trusted partners, where we prioritise long-term and win-win collaboration. The CP model emphasises two concepts, China Partner and Couple, so that we can form a close working relationship to meet the business needs of all our partners​”.

The company emphasises that its partnership model differs from single-channel partners such as JD (Jingdong Partner), TP (Tmall Partner) and DP (Douyin Partner). It says that although these kinds of single-channel partnership work very well for well-established and traditional brands with pre-existing management and marketing in China, it can be more difficult for newcomers to break through from outside the country.  

Our 'China Partner' covers every channel where the brands are visible in the Chinese market,”​ said the S’Young spokesperson. “As an exclusive distributor, we ensure the implementation of consistent pricing strategies and marketing solutions across all online and offline channels, maintaining brand credibility and consumer trust.

Meanwhile, with the ‘Couple’ concept, it likens choosing the right business partner to building a long-term relationship with a romantic partner. “We value trust and integrity. We want to create inspirations with each other’s thinking and understand what both parties want to achieve, to make it a win-win cooperation with our CP partners,” ​said the spokesperson.

Festival of Brands

S'Young International has partnered with many international beauty brands in the Chinese market, across the skin care, fragrance, personal care and makeup categories. According to the spokesperson, when the company forms a partnership, it builds a “comprehensive brand perception based on their brand genes, personality, unique story and philosophy.” ​It then concentrates on “conducting a ‘hero-product’ strategy based on Chinese consumers' needs and preferences, and localising brand design as part of brand building.”

The company recently hosted a Festival of Brands to showcase some of its partner brands, which also coincided with the opening of its new 180,000 m2 campus in the fashionable city of Changsha.

The festival featured four of its most successful niche beauty brands French-Japanese company Evidens De Beauté, French sensitive skin care brand Pier Augé, Italian cosmetics brand Lord&Berry and Finnish luxury skin care brand Lumene, It featured live shows that showcased their brand stories and products for an audience of over 300 customers, partners, influencers and channel distributors from online e-commerce, high-end stores, luxury hotels and beauty retail stores. 

Beauty consumer trends in China

With over 17 years of experience working with beauty brands in China, S’Young International has a good grasp of current trends and patterns.

According to the company spokesperson, the most prominent current trends include:

  • Anti-aging no longer being exclusively for mature skin; the consumer base for China’s anti-aging market has become much younger.
  • GenZ consumers prefer niche, trendy and unique products. ‘We are seeing consumers choose fragrances, makeup and skin care products that represent their personality, and identity that express their values,”​ said the spokesperson.
  • More consumers are educating themselves, paying attention to effective ingredients, and are very diligent in researching ingredients. The spokesperson points out two recently popular skin care trends: ‘Vitamin C in the morning, retinol at night’ and ‘Skin Nourishing with Oil/Moisturizing with Oil.’
  • Consumers are generally more knowledgeable thanks to education they receive via beauty influencers on social media, which has raised their awareness of what ingredients are used for and how they are used. As a result, beauty brands and manufacturers in China are placing more importance than ever on communicating this.

S'Young International recently held its own ‘Exclusive Cosmetics Forum’ in Bologna, Italy, during the Cosmoprof event. For this, it shared insights about China's beauty market in the post-Covid era, to help global beauty brands navigate the challenges and spot the opportunities in the changing Chinese market.

Looking to the future, S'Young International says it will continue to follow the global beauty market trends, and attach great importance to the European market, where “beauty, fashion and luxury brands are born and raised​”.

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