Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Isentia releases beauty trends study on 2017 China top beauty brands on digital media

All-round analysis and different levels of insights are vital for successful strategy planning

Isentia's China team recently released the “2017 Q2 China beauty trends study”. The report shows that during the second quarter of 2017 the organic buzz in the beauty sector in China's mainstream social media reached 48 million posts, 17% more than the first quarter, and the online discussion related to makeup/cosmetic products jumped four times compared with the previous quarter.

Social media has become one of the primary channels for consumers to obtain beauty and makeup information. According to NPD, 92% of makeup users get information on products from YouTube videos by online influencers. Social media marketing is the largest shift we have seen in the beauty industry in terms of driving growth. The trends study by Isentia ranked the digital presence of 51 well-known beauty brands by aggregating and filtering the organic buzz from China's major social media, including Weibo, Wechat, Q&A, blogs, forums, website and apps such as “The little Red Book” and summarized the most-recent five major skin care and makeup trends in China.

Beauty digital buzz ranking

L'Oreal and Estee Lauder are at the center of the China's beauty discussions that they were listed as number one and two in the ranking respectively.  The organic buzz of Estee Lauder is almost double of that of Kiehl's, which is at third place.  (Please view the full report for the 51 brands rank)

It's not hard to see that the result somehow reflects the brands' input in the Chinese digital marketing sector. Take L'Oreal as an example. Since 2015, the brand has been shifting its marketing focus to digital media. In 2016 the brand successfully conducted several promotion campaigns by embracing cutting edge digital marketing tactics, from cooperating with online influencers to applying live streaming and AI technologies.  (For more case studies please visit our Isentia blog section)

5 major makeup and skincare trends in China

The beauty trend 1: Pursing whitening, radiance, and glowing skin

Through the analysis we found that Chinese consumers do not only desire fair but also radiant and glowing skin. Watery glowing skin, girly skin and lustrous skin have become the hot key words used by consumers to describe their desired skin.

To promote products with hydrant and glowing effects, cosmetic brands are frequently using key words such as “Watery glowing skin” which means the skin is hydrated and full of radiance. The study reveals that in China, Estee Lauder (Micro Essence Infusion Mask) and YSL (Fusion Ink Encre de Peau Cushion Foundation, Touche Eclat Le Teint) are the brands that leverage the key words for product promotion and also receive high online discussions.

The beauty trends 2: Blurred lines between skincare and makeup

Adding skincare function into foundation is not a new concept. Since 2012, high-end makeup brands such as La Mer and Sisely's foundation products have been called “Skincare foundation” as their foundations have nourishing or replenishing properties. In 2017, “Serum/Essential oil foundation” and “Instant age rewind foundation” have become the new hot key words for foundation products.

Through buzz analysis we can see that the expectations of consumers for essential oil foundations are majorly focused on the radiance, smoothness and moisturizing effects. Currently the most discussed product is Armani “Maestro fusion makeup maquillage fusion”.

The beauty trends 3: Strong needs for shortcuts to daily beauty routines

In 2015, Su Yan Shuang (???), which is a combined product of makeup and skincare, caters to women who want the “fake bare face (???)” effect. It is a cream which modifies the skin color, improves skin texture and optimizes the skin's clarity while promoting inner radiance.

The online discussion on Su Yan Shuang during 2017 Q2 surged 15 times compared with the previous quarter. Below is the rank of the top products related to Su Yan Shuang.

The beauty trends 4: Matte as new makeup trend and hottest lipstick colors 

In 2017 Q2, the organic buzz volume on “matte makeup” soared by 16% compared to Q1. As opposed to shimmer, glow, or shiny makeup, matte makeup is a kind of makeup that creates non-greasy and natural look. It is void of any excess oils, and has more velvety finish that pulls light inward, often with a powdery texture.

Based on the analysis of consumer discussions on lipstick products, we can see the change of the trend. The top 3 hottest lipstick colors by Chinese neitizen's discussions in Q2 are matte, pink and red. Compared to the last quarter, colors such as “mermaid color” and “peach blossom red” that were popular due to the popular TV dramas are gradually diminished due to the finish of the show.

The beauty trends 5: Social media slang in beauty emerged as hot communication language

When online influencers and social media key accounts are reviewing beauty products, they like to use social media words or nick-names of the products. As more brands are tapping into social media marketing, they tend to use “beauty slangs” and adapt the similar tone of voice for content creation to better engage with their consumers online. Isentia beauty trend study lists the recent hottest beauty slang with explanations. For example, the hottest and commonly used word is "Zhong cao ??" (plant weeds), which refers to product recommendation shared by KOL or netizens to stimulate the intention of purchasing. The most co-mentioned products with “Zhong cao” is lipstick, followed by eye and facial makeup, and then skin care products.

Another word “Kong Ping ??” (empty bottle), which means use out the product, is often appears at the product evaluation related post. Many China beauty influencers are posting content with themes such as “Kong Ping Ji ???” (Summary of Empties) for product review content.

Renie Zhang, Isentia associate insight director, said, “by pinpointing and understanding the trendy hot key words, brands can adjust their social media listening plans accordingly to better identify consumers insight for business actions. Social media is rapidly changing the way beauty brands connect and communicate with consumers. The Chinese post-80s and 90s generations have become the core consumers of beauty products, and they are also active social media users. At least half of their purchase decisions are based on word of mouth, with social media having a major impact on their entire purchase journey. By understanding market trends, consumer presences, identify personas and influential promotion channels, brands can leverage social media analysis and obtain different levels of insights.

To download the full report, please visit:

About Isentia
Isentia (ASX:ISD) is APAC's leading integrated Media Intelligence, Insights and Content Marketing business, empowering more than 5,000 clients in 12 countries to connect the dots between data and decisions. Isentia blends marking-leading monitoring experience with analytics to help the world's biggest brands uncover the whole picture – and act on it. Powered by cutting-edge technology and a team of world class experts, our mission is to help businesses leap forward where only genuine insight can take them. To find out more about how we inform better decisions, please visit

Source: Isentia

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