Many of the leading beauty multinationals are releasing their latest corporate sales results as the world rebounds from the Covid-19 pandemic. The one constant in most of the financial reports centres on booming sales in mainland China.

According to The NPD Group, the global market researcher, online prestige beauty sales in China soared 47 per cent in the first six months of the year to US$5.4 billion, by contrast to the same period in 2020.

A very encouraging sign for international and Australian beauty brands in the lead-up to Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in November, the world’s largest online shopping festival.

The two major sectors of growth were haircare and skincare, which increased 84 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. E-commerce sales of fragrance and makeup also enjoyed double digit growth of 48 per cent and 34 per cent.

Skincare remains the big cheese in prestige beauty in China with a 68.5 per cent market share – down slightly from 70 per cent in the first half of 2020. The two highest-grossing sectors of the category were sets and kits (60%) and face (51%). Online suncare sales also rose 107 per cent in the first six months of the year during the Northern Hemisphere Spring and Summer.

As mask-wearing mandates eased in mainland China, demand for colour cosmetics surged strongly to generate US$528 million in online prestige beauty sales in H1.

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 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.”

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