Distribution Networks of Cosmetics in China 3

Characteristics, Opportunities and Trend

There are three special characteristics displayed in the distribution network of cosmetics in China. Firstly, the distribution networks have not considered the regional difference. China is such a big market that regional preferences have a small influence on the brand’s overall performance. Besides, Chinese people are not loyal to certain brands and their buying behavior is easily affected, which also helps to explain the lack of regionalized distribution channel. Secondly, the distribution network fails to consider the emerging male consumers. A great amount of surveys and researches on women’s preference and buying behavior have been conducted to optimize the efficiency of distribution network. But for male consumers, there is yet still a lot to do. Thirdly, there is a great imbalance among different distribution channels. They develop at different paces. Some channels such as specialty stores have great potential but are remotely mature.

Opportunities and trend for future distribution network are therefore very clear.

Firstly, there is a lot to do to complete the male cosmetics distribution network. At this stage, male cosmetics products in China are still not an independent industry. Some international brands such as Nivea have launched body care, hair care products for male use but for most times, those products are regarded as subsidiary to female ones, not to mention an independent and customized distribution network designed for male cosmetics. Health clubs and gyms could be potential distribution channel for male cosmetics.

Besides, the development and professionalization of internet retailing will completely break regional differences and make cosmetics much more accessible. Besides, once the quality of internet retailing is ensured, more and more people will refer to online shopping and thus traditional distribution channels such as department stores and supermarkets may meet irresistible challenges. For high-end international cosmetics companies who spend a huge amount of money to maintain their counters in department stores, it is better to respond now than to suffer more losses in the future.

Finally, university students have gradually become the new targeted customers of cosmetics in China. In South Korea, where almost all the university girls wear make-up and university guys care about their facial conditions, there are many specialty stores operating around university campuses and they generate huge amount of revenues every year. Chinese university students, influenced by the international students in school, put greater emphasis on their image. Reliable and high-quality campus cosmetics chain store and university students’ targeted professional stores are expected to be a new distribution channel for cosmetics in China.

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