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Changes in the Chinese Imported Cosmetics Market Landscape (2015-2023)

Changes in the Chinese Imported Cosmetics Market Landscape (2015-2023)

China is the second-largest consumer market for cosmetics globally, with imports mainly sourced from Europe, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Over the past few years, there have been some changes in the market share of these countries in the Chinese imported cosmetics market.

From 2015 to 2018, South Korea was the largest importing country of cosmetics in the Chinese market. The popularity of Korean cosmetics in China drove the growth of some large Korean beauty companies. For example, Amorepacific, one of the largest cosmetics companies in Korea, ranked third in Asia after Shiseido and Kao, with multiple brands including Laneige, Mamonde, Etude House, Innisfree, and Sulwhasoo. In 2014, more than half of Amorepacific's overseas revenue came from China. The company established an industrial park in Shanghai, integrating production, research and development, and logistics, expanding its production capacity by tenfold. It is the largest production, research, and development, and logistics base established by the company outside of Korea.

From 2019 to 2022, Japan became the country exporting the highest value of cosmetics to China. Strong sales in the Chinese market also drove the performance growth of multinational beauty companies in Japan. Brands such as Shiseido, Hada Labo, and Ettusais under Shiseido achieved great success in China. In 2022, the Chinese market surpassed the domestic Japanese market, becoming Shiseido's largest market with a share of 24.2%, surpassing Japan's 22.3%. Japanese cosmetics exports continued to reach new highs. To meet the export demand, Japanese cosmetics companies strengthened their domestic production capacity. For example, Shiseido inaugurated a new factory in 2019, increasing the production of skincare products and other items.

It is expected that in 2023, France is likely to regain the first place in the Chinese imported cosmetics market. Due to the impact of the Fukushima nuclear wastewater discharge incident, China's imports from Japan have significantly declined, while imports from France and South Korea have remained relatively stable. In fact, before the popularity of Japanese and Korean cosmetics, French cosmetics had dominated the Chinese market for decades.

According to statistics from the French Federation of Beauty Companies (FEBEA), China surpassed Germany and the United States in 2020, becoming the largest export market for French cosmetics. Prior to 2019, China was only the fourth-largest export market for French beauty products.

Additionally, it is worth noting that France has a greater advantage in fragrances, perfumes, and other related products, and these products have achieved good sales performance in the Chinese market in recent years.

Overall, the landscape of the Chinese imported cosmetics market is expected to remain relatively stable in the coming years. France, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom, will continue to be the main source countries for cosmetics imports into China.

Additionally, Chinese consumers are increasingly exposed to imported cosmetics from other countries through cross-border e-commerce platforms and other channels. Although these brands from other countries are often niche and cannot compete with the traditional top five, the landscape of the Chinese imported cosmetics market is undergoing changes.

In the overall Chinese cosmetics market, the market landscape in the coming years will be as follows: in the high-end market, Europe and the United States will have an advantage, with Japan and South Korea following closely behind; in the mass market, domestic brands will dominate.

Data source: China Customs