Chinese and red lipstick

Ⅰ. Lip makeup market

  • In less than a decade ago, color makeup market in China was less than half the size of what it is now. According to Euromonitor, Chinese color makeup market size is expected to ready USD 5.9 billion, up from 1.6 billion in 2009.
Figure1. Chinese color makeup market size trend | Source: Euromonitor
  • As of July 2019, Taobao/Tmall lip makeup category sales reached 990million yuan. Lipstick sales accounted for nearly 810million yuan, which is almost overwhelming. Based on Taobao/Tmall, lip makeup category sales were higher than base makeup sales until May last year.
  • Lipstick makes one of the most noticeable change in face among color cosmetics, thus became the most accessible product line when Chinese first started makeup.
  • Plus Chinese’ tendency for loving red color, red lipstick became a golden rule in China

Ⅱ. Red lipstick, an all-time winner

  • The first place that took the lipstick category was all in red this year.
Table1. Monthly No.1 lipstick in 2019 | Source: MeasureChina Dashboard
  • Giorgio Armani products with moist formulation were consumed more in hot and humid summer season, and Mac’s product occupied the first place again from July.

Ⅲ. Design and brand as the most important variables

  • Lip makeup is removed easily, and requires frequent touch up. Since people always carry the products in their purse, they tend to buy brand products for lips.
  • Lip makeup products also show strong duplicate purchase behavior, unlike skincare or base makeup products. Different color and formulation of lip products are used depending on the season, weather and location, so the price range also varies from low to high priced brands.
  • Therefore, ‘limited edition’ promotion on lipsticks is a very strong marketing method.
  • Mac’s lipstick which ranked first in the lipstick category in July has a matte-textured case, breaking out from the brand’s signature case design(shiny glossy lipstick case). Demand for matte designs surged particularly high as autumn approached.
  • Giorgio Armani’s product took second place in July, which remained in the first place through April to June. Despite its sales being much higher than the previous sales(about 3,700 yuan), it failed to take the top ranking, yielding the place to Mac products with slightly different design.
  • While overall demand for lipstick was very high, Mac, which made some minor changes in design, was able to retake the top tanking with overwhelming sales.

Figure2. Mac’s original(signature) case design vs. New one with matte case

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