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WeChat Marketing for China: 3 Reasons Beauty Brands Love It

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 47 seconds

Despite the deceleration in China’s economic growth, the nation’s beauty and personal care market continues to record healthy growth due to a growing upper middle class with a greater willingness to pay a premium for quality beauty products.

Social media is often the backbone of beauty and personal care brands’ marketing. But for China in particular, social users are more engaged, and more trusting of social media than any other medium. Add to that is WeChat’s sheer volume of users:  WeChat has 500 million active users, only 200 million fewer than active users on Whatsapp, a Facebook owned instant messaging application, and it is growing at a rate 4x as fast.

For global beauty brands looking to crack the Chinese market, social media is an imperative.

For global beauty brands looking to crack the Chinese market, social media, and particular, a WeChat marketing strategy is an imperative. Foreign brands still play a dominant role in China’s beauty industry, accounting roughly 86% of the total volume of retail sales, and arguably, WeChat can be a pivotal platform for maintaining – or even growing – that marketshare longterm.

Here are just 3 reasons why:

1. WeChat marketing combines sales with social

Roughly 15% of beauty sales in China are transacted digitally, 3x more than any other market. As a marketing channel, WeChat is somewhat unique to many other social apps and networks, as it is an all-in-one app that can support texting, soliciting ride sharing services à la Uber, and ecommerce. WeChat provides brands access to contacts/followers either through scanning of the QR code, manually adding, or “shaking” and connecting and reaching out to shoppers nearby. These “shaking” connections, in particular, give seasonal opportunities for wide reach growth (see chart). Additionally, businesses can tag customers in different categories and target them according to their characteristics or location, or provide loyalty reward programs and customer referrals.

As online vendors like Tmall, JD, and Yihaodian are beginning to supplant convenience store trips, TenCent (WeChat’s parent company, and one of the largest internet firms in China) partnered with JD, a China-based e-commerce platform, to launch a project called Weixin Xiaodian, which translates to “WeChat Small Stores.” It allows WeChat to become an “online retailer” by opening a shopping channel on the instant messaging application., it allows small to medium sized retailers to register and open online stores on WeChat.

2. WeChat marketing is essential to a China market launch

On the higher end of the market, Chanel, was among the first major Western brands to push into China. In isolation of other marketing tactics, Chanel’s WeChat marketing has improved not only brand awareness in this emerging market, but customer engagement, satisfaction, and intimacy. 

The homegrown Chinese platform hits on all cylinders for launches specifically, and while the added boost of high-visibility OOH, broadcast, store marketing and other digital tactics will boost frequency, WeChat marketing strategies offer scaleable and – relative to the size of the Chinese market – affordable entry tactics.

CHANEL’s WeChat marketing efforts offer users an exclusive look at the latest Chanel News, detailed information about their products, and vignette’s of their rich history.

3. WeChat Marketing supports the Year-Round Consumer Lifecycle

For beauty and personal care, no single platform reaches equivalent marketshare with engagement comparable to WeChat – at each point in the consumer life cycle: from brand launch through to loyalty-building.

Vouchers redeemed through WeChat's "shake" function throughout the year via SENSORO
Vouchers redeemed through WeChat’s “shake” function throughout the year via SENSORO


For more on WeChat marketing strategies for beauty and personal care, contact Criterion Global for our Market Launch China: WeChat Marketing 101 white paper presentation – a distillation of research and key findings for global personal care brands looking to launch in China.

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ABOUT US – Criterion Global, is an international media planning and buying consultancy specializing in travel/hospitality, retail, and luxury consumer brands worldwide. With offices in New York City, Miami Beach, and Mumbai, Criterion Global has executed campaigns across 37 different countries.

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