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Stylish, Multi-function, Organic Products Wow Guangzhou Beauty Show

Speed to market is now essential to meet the ever-changing demands of Millennials, according to exhibitors at the China International Beauty Expo, while multi-functionality and environmental-friendliness are also expected as standard.

Photo: CIBE Spring 2018: The latest edition of the mainland’s biggest beauty and cosmetics expo.
CIBE Spring 2018: The latest edition of the mainland's biggest beauty and cosmetics expo.
Photo: CIBE Spring 2018: The latest edition of the mainland’s biggest beauty and cosmetics expo.
CIBE Spring 2018: The latest edition of the mainland's biggest beauty and cosmetics expo.

This spring's China International Beauty Expo (CIBE) Guangzhou – the 48th iteration of the event – once again boasted a huge array of products, including all the very best from the maternity, baby and children's, personal care and daily use cosmetic sectors, with makeup, fragrances and general beauty accessories all particularly well-represented.

In line with shifting consumer preferences, exhibitors also placed a notably greater emphasis on product personalisation, differentiation and presentation, as well as looking to highlight functionality. With many in the cosmetics sector now seeing the ever-fickle, constantly changing youth market as their primary target, there was also a greater awareness of the need to stay ahead of trends by constantly developing and launching new products.

The commitment and endeavour demonstrated by many of the exhibitors is, perhaps, all too understandable, given the size of the sector and the potential rewards on offer. According to the latest industry figures, the total value of the mainland cosmetics market is set to exceed RMB400 billion (US$64 billion) this year, making it clearly a prize worth pursuing.

One company intent on capitalising on this ever more lucrative market was Antao, the Shandong-based biotech business behind the A.T range of makeup and facial masks. This year, the company was in Guangdong to promote the latest additions to its extensive line, including a heat-sensitive lipstick that changes colour with the user's body temperature.

According to Liang Meilian, a Sales Representative with the company, personalisation is now a must for the post-90's Millennial generation. In line with this, mid-priced cosmetic products that allow a degree of self-expression are said to be particularly sought out, with the company's heat-sensitive lipstick, apparently, already a winner with female and male purchasers.

Photo: Male makeover gets under way.
Male makeover gets under way.
Photo: Male makeover gets under way.
Male makeover gets under way.
Photo: Zhuangdu’s eyebrow pencil.
Zhuangdu's eyebrow pencil.
Photo: Zhuangdu’s eyebrow pencil.
Zhuangdu's eyebrow pencil.
Photo: Zaomeishe’s cold process soaps.
Zaomeishe's cold process soaps.
Photo: Zaomeishe’s cold process soaps.
Zaomeishe's cold process soaps.

In addition to products with quirky or unique functionality, many exhibitors also relied on striking packaging and unusual designs to differentiate their ranges. Keni, a Guangzhou biotech business, for instance, had adopted varied and distinctive packaging and fragrances as a way of achieving stand-out for its scented haircare ranges.

With more than 100 individual products on offer, the company has aligned them all into six separate ranges – Flowers, Travel, Romance, Socialising, Characters and Care. Within each range – all offering different fragrances, as well as individual treatments for particular hair types – a series of different motifs was on offer. In the Travel category, for instance, buyers could choose between Australia's Starlit Sky, Brazil's Fire and Spice, France's Odours of Provence, Greece's Vows of Love and the UK's English Occasions.

According to staff on the company's stand, Keni's focus is now very much on the big-spending post-90s and post-00s generations. In order to cater to the rapidly changing preferences of these consumers, the company sells many of its products in small, one-use containers, leaving buyers free to try a range of different treatments and scents.

For those targeting a still-younger demographic, licensed cartoon characters were still the favoured promotional route. In the case of Guangzhou-based Mifei Baobei, for instance, the packaging of its mother and baby personal care range all featured Miffy, a lovable young rabbit who has her own TV series as well as being the star of more than 30 books. The company also uses several other licensed characters to promote its kid-friendly ranges, including SpongeBob, Doraemon, and Domo-kun.

Bespoke and Multi-functional

As an alternative to striking packaging and the use of licensed characters, some companies trusted their products to be unique enough to need no additional appeal to consumers. Clearly adopting this particular strategy was Yucaitang, a Guangzhou-based cosmetics manufacturer keen to showcase Runheilu, its specialist black hair shampoo.

According to Wu Hongbin, one of the company's Sale Representatives, Runheilu is specially formulated from extracts of fleeceflower root, ginseng and gingko leaf. Apparently simple to use, the shampoo dyes, nourishes, conditions and cleans the hair with every application.

Multi-function cosmetics were also on offer from Zhuangdu, a Nanning-based biotech business. The star performer on its particular stand was a multi-application eyebrow system, combining the function of a pencil, a brush and a powder applicator into one unit. According to Sales Representative Liang Hongyu, the handy and convenient nature of the product has seen it prove particularly popular with young consumers.

Photo: Vanilla Dream’s skincare range.
Vanilla Dream's skincare range.
Photo: Vanilla Dream’s skincare range.
Vanilla Dream's skincare range.
Photo: Natural and organic skincare emulsions.
Natural and organic skincare emulsions.
Photo: Natural and organic skincare emulsions.
Natural and organic skincare emulsions.

While many exhibitors were keen to target as wide a range of consumers as possible, others favoured exploiting particularly profitable niches. Among these was Antao, which had on offer a range of products customised for different skin types, including cleansing milks, eye creams, toners, serums, lotions and creams.

Explaining the company's strategy, Liang said: "As competition in the skincare sector is intense, we have launched products with specific efficacy. As many young people like to stay up late, for instance, we have developed a product that mitigates the harm done to the skin by such nocturnal practices."

Similarly offering a bespoke pallet of skincare treatment, Hong Kong's Asia Pacific Vanilla Dream International launched a new range of herbal emulsion-based products at the event. These offered four particular restorative treatments – whitening and pigment correction, oil removing and anti-acne, moisturising and wrinkle-removing, anti-allergy and irritation alleviation. All of the products could also be mixed and matched in order to create the optimum blend for the user's individual skin condition.

Safety First

Another trend clearly apparent this year was that end users were more concerned than ever about the ingredients used in their choice of skin products and other cosmetic items. In order to alleviate these concerns, many exhibitors openly displayed an ingredients list for each of their products. Having learnt their lesson in previous years, the majority of all such ingredients tended to be natural, with a substantial proportion of them plant-derived.

Safe from any criticism from fastidious consumers, Zaomeishe, a Guangzhou-based biotech company, was keen to emphasise the organic content of its range of cold process soaps. According to He Yuyun, a member of the company's sales team, only natural raw materials and herb extracts were used to create the soaps. Additionally, the advantage of the cold process manufacturing technique is that, within 24 hours of first coming into contact with water, the soap breaks down into an eco-friendly carbon dioxide residue, which has no harmful effects on rivers or other water sources.

Photo: Hot lips: Antao’s heat-sensitive lipsticks.
Hot lips: Antao's heat-sensitive lipsticks.
Photo: Hot lips: Antao’s heat-sensitive lipsticks.
Hot lips: Antao's heat-sensitive lipsticks.
Photo: Keni’s all-natural hair care products.
Keni's all-natural hair care products.
Photo: Keni’s all-natural hair care products.
Keni's all-natural hair care products.

The 48th China International Beauty Expo (CIBE) Guangzhou took place from 10-12 March 2018 at the China Import and Export Fair Complex. Organised by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce Beauty Culture and Cosmetics Chamber, the event takes place five times a year, with shows held in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. One of China's largest beauty and cosmetics trade fairs, the most recent edition occupied 300,000 sq m of floor space and attracted 3,800 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions.

Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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