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Market research: Clarins in China

Clarins, a French cosmetics company, was established in 1954. In the early 1970s, it signed exclusive contracts with agents all over the world, and began its international expansion campaign. In 1981, it established its first subsidiary in America. Now, the company owns 19 subsidiaries, its products are sold in over 150 countries, and it has over 5400 employees. The total turnover of Clarins is about 5,500 francs. Its sales volume tops the list of cosmetics companies in Europe and more than doubles the sales volume of Lancome, who boasts the second largest sales volume.

Clarins is famous for its breast enlargement products, slimming products and other functional cosmetics products. It is now the world’s top functional cosmetics brand. The effectiveness of its products lay the foundation for its worldwide popularity.  Clarins insists on using herbal materials when making its products. In the early 1970s, personal care products containing many chemical materials were becoming very popular in the cosmetics industry. Despite this, Mr. Clarins insisted on using herbal materials and differentiated his products from those of his competitors. To this day, its products are still composed primarily of herbal essences and natural ingredients. In Clarins’ beauty and skin care brochures, the company lists all of the herbal contents used in their products and their usages.

Clarins puts a lot of effort into teaching people beauty knowledge, especially to first line beauty consultants who serve consumers directly. In its headquarters in Paris, the beauty knowledge training department comprises the biggest department in the facility.

Despite its great popularity in Europe, Clarins’ development in China still has a lot of potential to be realized. According to market research about the top 50 cosmetic brands in China’s cosmetics market, the biggest brand in China is L’Oreal followed by Lancôme, Kose, Biotherm, Olay, Elizabeth Arden, Aupres, Kiehls, Za and La Roche-Posay. Despite being the top brand in Europe, Clarins ranked a mere 25thon the list.

Clarins has a unique retailing strategy. Although it operate all the common retailing channels such as special counters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and chained exclusive stores, it differentiates itself by operating beauty institutions. These institutions usually have two floors. The first floor helps consumers familiarize themselves with and choose personal care products. On the second floor, Clarins professionals perform beauty treatments on its customers. The target consumers of beauty treatments are white collar people between the ages of 25 and 55.These institutions are aimed at attracting consumers with different needs. They are a great tool to show consumers the quality and value of the brand. However, these beauty institutions have yet to come into China.

Daxue Consultant China


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