CBE 2020 played a vital role in driving and leading a recovery not just for the beauty sector but for the entire economy,” said Sang Jingmin, founder and chairman of China Beauty Expo.

Each edition of CBE gathers the latest technologies and products from leading companies and brands. This year also saw a remarkable showcase of new concepts, ideas and technologies. Here is a selection of the main trends spotted during the show.

1. Growing consumer interest in technology

During this year’s expo, CBE teamed up with Alimama (Alibaba Group’s digital marketing platform) to release the 2020 Meiyi White Paper, which identifies major consumer profiles and market segments for accurate targeting. According to the report, which was released on July 8 at the 2020 International Cosmetics Technology Conference hosted by CBE and Supply World, a growing number of Chinese consumer groups have keen interest in the benefits of technology in beauty products, which in turn is driving the need for technological innovation to bring the cosmetics sector to a new height.

From the design of their pavilion to the products showcased, Proya was a good illustration on how cosmetic brands explore high-tech solutions to provide new aesthetic benefits to their customers.

It’s foreseeable that technologies will be a key focus for Chinese brands in search for growth opportunities in the future.

2. Content marketing continues to attract attention

Currently, content marketing is indisputably the best form of marketing for brands to communicate with consumers in China.

At CBE 2020, different brands adopted various forms of content marketing to increase their visibility, including recommendations by key opinion leaders (KOLs), content planning and topic discussions.

3. Anti-aging and sensitive skin repair products are gaining popularity

As far as skin care is concerned, anti-aging and sensitive skin repair products were the most eye-catching items showcased at CBE 2020. Efficacy is a key factor of success for skincare as consumers are increasingly demanding.

Herborist Derma, a sub-brand of Shanghai Jahwa, presented three freeze-dried ampoule products, one of which was 77 Polypeptide Firming Freeze-Dried Powder made from three anti-aging ingredients including polypeptide, ginseng extract and retinol using the freeze-drying technology to deliver benefits such as firming, filling and fine line correcting.

The growing popularity of anti-aging and repair solutions were also manifest in the latest technologies showcased by upstream businesses.

4. Consumer differentiation calls for accurate targeting of user by the brands

According to the China’s Meiyi Science and Technology White Paper, there are eight types of cosmetics consumers, each with distinctive preferences. Therefore, it’s important for brands to focus on key groups to launch relevant products.

At CBE, the Huanya pavilion highlighted a collection of 11 different brands - such as Face Ideas, Ausperi, Mor and Moina - conceived to better target different market segments and explore new consumer needs.

5. International giants expand their presence

Over the years, international brands have been one of the major highlights of CBE. Hall N5 and E8 gathered Japanese and Korean Brands, Hall E2 was dedicated to international pavilions and imported products, Hall E3 and Hall E7 to international brands. These international exhibitors contributed to attract vast numbers of visitors and buyers.

There were also a large number of niche brands on display at CBE 2020 such as Chuan Xi. Some of them will have to join forces with partners to be more successful on the huge Chinese market.

6. Consumer demands changed as a result of COVID-19

In the wake of the pandemic, consumers are more concerned about health and safety than ever. As a result, cosmetics with natural ingredients are preferred as they are generally considered as safer.

Hola, a natural skincare brand with ingredients sourced in Australia, showcased its top product lines including the Instant Soothing Repair series, which received a warm response. Pien Tze Huang launched a new collection of moisturizing products based on traditional Chinese medicine and focusing the “Beauty of Health.”

Japan’s Polystar, in Hall N5 also featured the theme of “Beauty and Health”, signaling efforts to add “healthy” elements to communicate a lifestyle of external beauty and internal wellbeing to Chinese consumers.

7. Increased integration of online and offline retail channels

New distribution channels such as social e-commerce and live streaming have been important contributors to sales growth in recent years in China.

In line with this key trend, CBE 2020 conducted live streaming throughout the event to help brands combining both online and offline channels to expand their customer base.

At the expo, Kafellon demonstrated the use of mini app streaming and mini app stores to empower retailing.

8. Experience and service remain key retail goals

During the expo, brands and retailers introduced new or improved retail approaches based on the current market ecosystem.

Cogi Formula, for instance, introduced a formula experience center focusing on professional instruments and products, and Xcheng emphasized the creation of an omnichannel interaction retail platform.

However, the ultimate purpose of these new retail approaches is still about experience and service.

9. Skincare still a hot trend

It is worth noting that upstream OEM/ODM companies such as Intercos, Kolmar, Nox Bellcow and 3INS are increasing investments into the skincare lines.

According to Intercos, color cosmetics and skincare products used to represent around 50% of the company’s business revenue respectively. However, these days, the revenue from skincare products has accounted for 75% of the total, exceeding that of color cosmetics. Kolmar also made greater efforts to promote its skincare lines during the expo by launching five skincare products with different claims.

10. Upstream businesses shift more attention to interaction with consumers

At CBE this year, more and more upstream businesses highlighted trendy and fun elements to showcase how their products interact with consumers.

For example, Cosmax created a “brands supermarket” to showcase 20 concept-brands that are well-developed in terms of product offerings, trademark and selling points.

Baho’s booth design was characterized by a fusion of technology and art. It used state-of-the-art technologies, 3D mapping in particular, to visually present its facial mask products and culture, as well as its development and innovation processes.

Easycare, in designing its booth, focused on trendy and fun elements appealing to young consumers. For instance, it featured a themed area incorporating bathroom items into the setting of a bar.

The next edition of China Beauty Expo is scheduled to take place from May 12-14, 2021. The organizers are looking to introduce more digital service offerings to further enhance the show.