“One of the key takeaways from the prestige beauty industry’s experience with COVID-19 lockdowns has been that manufacturers and retailers must have an up-to-date and actionable digital strategy,” said Stanley Kee, managing director, APAC, The NPD Group. “Not only are more people buying beauty products online, but new selling formats such as livestreaming or short-form videos are continuing to rise in popularity, providing endless marketing opportunities for beauty brands.”
Skincare continue to dominate China’s market
According to the market research firm, hair and skincare e-commerce sales saw the largest increases, at 84%, and 50%, respectively. Fragrances and makeup followed with respective increases of 48% and 34%. 
Skincare sales continued to dominate China’s prestige beauty e-commerce market in the first half of this year, but it did show a slight decline in terms of value share when compared to the second half of 2020, dropping to 68.5% from 70%. Apart from the sales increases seen in the two highest revenue-generating segments within the Skincare category, Sets & Kits, and Face (60% and 51%, respectively), there was a noteworthy increase of 107% in sales of sun care products.
Make-up benefits from the loosening of face-covering mandates
Demand for makeup increased as mask mandates were loosened throughout the country earlier this year. Generating over $528 million in e-commerce sales, Total Face Makeup was the segment that generated the most revenue in the makeup category.
“These strong sales signal that more consumers were prepared to spend time outside of the home, unlike last year when the pandemic had gripped the country,” said Kee. “Thanks to the easing of mask mandates in some offices and outdoor settings throughout China in the first half of the year, virtually all prestige beauty segments experienced strong growth.”