Increasing Sales in China with E-Commerce. This Time: Health & Beauty Products

December 15, 2021
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Many international companies observe China from afar and are astonished by its stubborn and constant economic growth. In spite of this, many are still apprehensive about taking the next strategic step due to the many challenges that come with entering the Chinese market. The good news is that nowadays, you don’t have to relocate or register a company in China to sell locally, but you can instead do so through e-commerce channels. In the past few years, Chinese e-commerce has developed tremendously, now enabling overseas companies to reach potential clients all across the country.

We recently held an online workshop for managers of international brands that produce and sell in the cosmetics and health industries. We presented them with opportunities to increase their sales in the Chinese market without setting foot in the country. Four specialists from different domains participated in our workshop and provided comprehensive solutions for how to initiate and maintain digital sales in the Chinese market.

The health & beauty market in China

Even though maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an integral part of daily life in China, in recent years and particularly since the Covid-19 outbreak, the local interest in these products has just skyrocketed. Yael Farjun, Marketing and Business Development Manager in PTL Group amazed the audience by outlining that food supplements currently make up 54% of all health product sales in China. She also stated that sales profits are forecasted to grow to 280 billion RMB (44 billion dollars) by the end of 2023. More good news comes in the form of local Chinese consumers highly favoring foreign cosmetics brands, which own a 75% market share in a wide variety of product categories.

Dor Barak, our UK lead, spoke about the efficiency of Chinese e-commerce. He opened his presentation with a staggering statistic – in 2021, 52.1% of the world’s retail e-commerce sales and transactions hail from China.

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Marketing localization of health & beauty products

Domenica Di-Lieto, CEO of Chinese digital marketing agency Emerging Communications, presented prevalent consumptions trends in China and explained why it is best to refrain from “copying” successful marketing strategies from the origin country and to merely “paste” them into China. She insisted this isn’t the correct method of standing out and capturing the Chinese consumers’ attention. To demonstrate why a localized marketing strategy for the Chinese market is essential, Domenica described two case studies of her clients – two international cosmetics companies that thanks to proper guidance have been extremely successful in China. One of them is a British brand that markets cosmetic products for men – an intriguing market trend that is gaining momentum in China at an extraordinary pace.

Financial solutions for cross-border payments

Steven Walters, Partnering Manager at World First, addressed the financial aspects in international trade, and specifically sales in China. He listed several financial challenges foreign companies must overcome when selling in China, including fluctuations in the currency exchange rate, local financial regulations, and profit repatriation from China. Steven presented the services his company offers and explained the advantages of global banking in tackling the challenges of e-commerce in China.

Selling health & beauty products in Chinese e-commerce – how to start?

Foreign companies interested in increasing sales through e-commerce in China must be aware of Tmall Global – the leading cross-border e-commerce platform, which already hosts over 29 thousand foreign brands. The consumer behavior on Tmall Global reflects the general consumption trends in China. For instance, in the last four years, the number of cosmetics products sold on Tmall has grown by over 50% YoY, and the foreign brands still dominate the sales of health and beauty products.

Due to the rising demand, and in order to facilitate the entry of foreign brands into Tmall Global, earlier this year we have established an online “super-store” for health and beauty products called Pine Tree Lifestyle. Our mini online marketplace is an efficient entry route to China for foreign brands, allowing them to directly reach Chinese consumers and benefit from a combined offering made up of numerous other like-minded foreign brands. By using the framework of this store, foreign brands can circumvent several barriers inherent in a China market entry, cut expenses, shorten time-to-market and enjoy the professional China business support of the store operators. Pine Tree Lifestyle enables companies to simultaneously begin selling in China while learning and gaining insights into their local market and exploring future development options.

Are you interested?

If you missed the workshop, you are welcome to watch the recording.

The workshop’s participants received an extensive white paper about selling health & beauty products in China via e-commerce. You are welcome to download it from this link.

Ready to take the next strategic step? Contact us today to examine your options in the world’s largest e-commerce market.

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