Clinique in China

In late 1960s, people’s knowledge about skins was: skins are born to be what they are, and cannot be changed. However, a chief magazine editor in year 1967 posed that ‘females should take a right attitude towards their skins’. This reminded people that perfect skin can be constructed. She was Carol Philips, the chief editor for Vogue. Her theory impressed many people, including the Estee Lauder family, which hired her immediately, and established Clinique. Under the instructions of skin professors, Clinique passed the test for allergy, and became the first skin care brand that contained no essence at all.

In the special counters of Clinique, consumers are free to get to know all the products by trying. Also, Clinique offers small booklets about skin care for consumers to read. Before consumers buy any products, the beauty consultants at the special counters would ask a few simple but useful questions summarized by skin professors to see the type of the consumer’s skin, and recommend the suitable products.

The Impact from E-commerce

E-commerce is having a big influence on Clinique. For imported luxury beauty products, the price difference in China and abroad is about 40% to 120%. Thus, many people are choosing online shopping or using proxies in Hong Kong(香港). This damages the sales volume at special counters. Despite the general trend that the prices of western lixury cosmetics are rising, Clinique lowered its price for 4 products in September, 2012. There are almost no price differences in these 4 products in mainland China and in Hong Kong now. This has increased its sales volume much.

This is a problem that brands like Shiseido, L’Oreal Paris, and Estee Lauder all have to face. The market in China’s first tier cities is close to saturated, and online channel is challenging the traditional retailing channels like big department stores and supermarkets.


In November, 2011, the newest spot paling essence of Clinique came into China. This product has received 69 international prizes, sales champion in 6 international spot paling markets, and is sold at a speed of every 9 seconds a bottle. It has been tested for a total of 72,000 times by 600 people with different skin types, 12 times per person for allergy. The launch of this product will again increase Clinique’s popularity in China. Together with the price strategy that was mentioned above, Clinique has made a steady development.

Edited by Amy Wang from Daxue Consultant China


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Credit Photo: Hudong