Photo © Elwynn

The situation is already well known within the industry: the complexity of Asian women beauty rituals - which usually comprise at least ten steps - leads consumers to allocate a lot of time to get information about the products and how to use them. In return, the high level of information makes Asian women even more demanding.

In such a context, the role of beauty bloggers is increasingly important, as is the role of social media.

WeChat a springboard for beauty brands in China

Almost every beauty brands have an account on WeChat in China. Thus, they have been able to better target their customers and to initiate a more interactive relationship.

On August 2015, between ’likes’ and ’shares’, beauty brands in China achieved an engagement rate 200% higher than other sectors, such as such as automotive, fashion, beer, sports clothing, watches & jewellery,

At the very beginning, many brands were reluctant to the fact of creating a strategic development on WeChat, cosmetics brands were able to be ambitious, and creative in experimenting the platform and were able to improve the user’s experience. Enhanced photo and video contents, sample offering for people who shared or liked most a product, led to this much higher rate of commitment compared to other retailers.

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As we can see from the graph, beauty brands have many accounts and achieve high levels of sights and “like” shift on WeChat. The network has become a key platform. Major international and local beauty brands have seen in WeChat an enormous potential for increased consumer engagement and important economic impact.

WeChat and the Weishang

The Weishang (which literally means microbusiness) phenomenon is a key trend to understand the evolution of the cosmetics business in China. The Weishang is composed of small entrepreneurs and individuals, sometimes bloggers, who offer products to sale through WeChat’s Moments (an application allowing to share content with all users).

For many beauty brands, the Weishang business model is a key element to the marketing of their products. In 2014, 80% of beauty products sold on WeChat by the Weishang were skin masks.

A key communication channel

For sure, WeChat has grown up as the Chinese social network where you have to be to target the greatest number of consummers. However, it is not the only one. Weibo, a microblogging site usually described as the “Chinese Twitter”, might not perform as well as WeChat but it record more than 550 million active users, which also represents a huge target for the promotion of products.

There are also many Chinese forums where consumers can exchange about products, discuss or criticize. Actually, no cosmetic brand interesting in the Chinese market can avoid going through social networks.

For instance, many brands participating in the latest edition of China Beauty Expo were displaying QR codes connecting directly to their WeChat account.

WeChat has become very important for all brands and retailers wishing to market and sell in China. But, while it is forecast that, by 2019, 80% of the worldwide turnover of the cosmetics industry will come from Asia, with China representing 75% of this volume, the social network should soon come a key factor of success for the cosmetics industry worldwide. What we observe is the "asiatisation" of the cosmetics market, at every levels.