China Market Updates: the power of WeChat for beauty brands

The China Beauty Expo team examine the rise of WeChat as a powerful vehicle for beauty marketing.

In early August, Estee Lauder relaunched a promotional video on WeChat Moments with the tagline: “Are you over-exposed to ultraviolet light because of cellphone use?” This has become one of the brand's core tactics in its WeChat campaigns. In 2017, Estee Lauder ran more than 18 ad campaigns on WeChat Moments. The frequency of these campaigns and investment points to the growing power of WeChat in China’s beauty market.

With more than 1 billion active users per month, WeChat has emerged as a major channel for brands to engage with and influence Chinese consumers. WeChat’s owner, Tencent, has used its user data to gain insights on the beauty industry to publish its report, Insights into Wechat-based Cosmetics Advertising and Product Solutions.

More than 90% of China’s online share of searches related to beauty brands comes from social media. Recent data indicates that social media has become a primary channel for obtaining new product information, with WeChat accounts playing a large role in influencing consumers’ opinions about beauty brands.

Between 2016 and 2017, the frequency of beauty ads on WeChat Moments increased by 81%. More than 156 beauty brands launched ads on WeChat Moments during this period, and more than 60% ran their ads throughout the year. It comes therefore as no suprise that analysis of social advertising and brand influence shows that social media communication can significantly improve brand influence.

Recent research shows that China’s young consumers are highly influenced by key opinion leaders (KOLs). Beauty KOLs have the strongest influence on consumers in the 18-24 age range, but they also shape buying decisions for consumers from 25 to 34 years old.

The rapid development of e-commerce in China has led many beauty brands to adopt omni-channel strategies. In 2017, online sales of skincare products grew by 41.9% and make-up products grew by 56%. The growth rates in China’s Tier 3, 4, and 5 cities outpaced that in Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets. Beauty brands are also using online channels to acquire customers than then drive them to offline channels with trial offers, discounts and coupons.

However, WeChat advertising data also reflects a relatively low level of brand loyalty amongst consumers, with those brands who display stronger ethical values on social media garnering greater loyalty. Research shows that Chinese consumers tend to choose brands that match their values, with 52% of consumers in major cities preferring to buy ethical brands.

Learn more about how WeChat is shaping China’s beauty industry at China Beauty Expo 2019.

China Beauty Expo

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Between 2016 and 2017, the frequency of beauty ads on WeChat Moments increased by 81%

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