The 18th edition of China Beauty Expo, which took place from May 20 to 22, 2013 at the New International Expo Center in Shanghai, has confirmed the interest of the industry for the world’s 4th cosmetics market in value, after the European Union, the United States and Japan. Most of the main cosmetic categories were showcased: beauty products and accessories, spa products, perfumes, makeup, body care, packaging, machines.

Natural products in the spotlight

The growing appeal of Chinese consumers for products containing natural ingredients was confirmed by the strong presence of such claims on the show.

Having to cope with the deterioration of the environment, Chinese people are increasingly aware about the importance of health and quality of life. At the same time, the increasing urbanization of China and the population’s improved standard of living drive the demand for imported cosmetics that are perceived of better quality and more frequently make natural and environment friendliness claims. Botanicals-based products, possibly from organic agriculture, are becoming increasingly popular in China.

This "green" trend is also reflected in production methods. Thus, over the past two years, the concept of "low carbon beauty" has become very popular in the Chinese market. The future of cosmetics in China seems increasingly correlated to greener and more environmentally friendly production methods, requiring less energy and polluting less. Therefore, many actors of the cosmetics industry in China are looking for international partners that would help them to address this new demand.

Some Chinese brands are gaining momentum

China Beauty Expo is also an important showcase for growing Chinese brands, in particular for those trying to consolidate their image. For instance, the Proya brand made the buzz with a boat-shaped stand specially designed for the event. Proya offers natural products from the sea, with a high quality packaging and image.

China Beauty Expo 2013

Chinese brands also tend to upscale their image by adopting the codes of European cosmetic brands, especially French or Swiss. These brands may choose a French sounding name and generally put the emphasis on Paris. However, (most of them) are not counterfeiters and also express their own identity. This is the case for example of the DéJOJOez brand that multiplies Provencal references!

Few international brands

While foreign brands still holds more than 80% of the Chinese market, only few of them were participating in China Beauty Expo. However, some international brands, in particular in the makeup category (Max Factor, Bourjois) were there.

In the wake of the success of the brand in the Chinese media and on the web, the stand of Parfums du Château de Versailles has attracted the attention of Chinese visitors who lined up to be able to take pictures alongside models wearing outfits inspired by the Court of Versailles.

"For the recent years the show has been a mix between serious and professional exhibitors alongside with vulgar copies, which never fails to surprise. The Korean presence was strong, demonstrating the strength and ambitions of the Korean industry regarding this market. This is even more courageous since import procedures have not been eased, making the access to the market very difficult. This explains why many do not come here. In a few years the show will be more professionnal," says Jean-Philippe Benoist, Elle Girl Cosmetics.

Actually, the Cosmoprof Asia tradeshow remains the main gateway to China and Asia for international operators, in particular because of less cumbersome formalities. However, only a part of Chinese distributors come to Hong Kong for the occasion.

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