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What does the GMV of 7,7 Billion male skincare products say about China’s “He Economy”?

According to the data collected by Moojing Market Intelligence Agency, an AI-based data analysis agency specializing in the e-commerce retail industry, the total GMV of male skin care products on Taobao/Tmall, JD, and Douyin from June 2022 to May 2023 is 7,7 billion RMB (approximately 970 million EUR). Considering the prediction of the male skincare market size by iiMedia Research to be 16,5 billion RMB (2,1 billion EUR) for 2023, the total GMV of male skin care products for Q4 shall be a miracle to fit the estimation. Does it mean that the Chinese male skincare market performs worse than expected? Not necessarily.


The Chinese male skincare market is so unsaturated that Chinese consumers have very few choices of products. Based on data collected by research institutions about the search frequency of male skin care products on 2 most popular social media platforms in China, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin, the trends of male skincare products increased enormously this year. On Douyin, the number of searches for the hashtag #maleskincareguidelines increased from 150,000,000 on March 3, 2023, to 340,000,000 on July 3, 2023. On Xiaohongshu, the number of posts about male skin care reached 1,530,000 on July 3, 2023. The increasing popularity of male skin care products on social media shows that the demand for male skin care products is enormous in China.


A livestreaming scene. Photo: Unsplash.


However, when we look at the supply side of the male skincare market in China, we will find that men have fewer options than women. According to the results published by Jing Advising Data Analysis Center, there are in total of 21782 brands registered under skin care on Tmall, but only 1045 of them are categorized as male skin care. The gap between the female and male skincare market in China is around 20,000 brands, meaning that the supply of male skin care products is short compared with female skin care products.


A man with gumming on his face. Photo: Unsplash.


The analysis of sales data collected during the 618 festival also shows that international brands take a big share of the Chinese male skincare market. The most popular brands during the period of the 618 festival of 2023 are L’Oréal Men, Biotherm Men, Kielh’s Men, Lab Series, Mentholatum Men, and Shiseido Men. Besides these brands, the male product line of local brands such as Pechoin and Chando, and Asian brands such as AHC and Sulwhasoo, also received attention from Chinese consumers.


A collection of male skincare products. Photo: SPY.


When choosing skin care products, men and women have different preferences. Based on the research we conducted, the effect is the top 1 feature Chinese male consumers consider when choosing their skin care products. 89.2% of our respondents selected Effect as the main feature they look at when buying skin care products. Brand and price are the second most important factors for Chinese male consumers when choosing a skin care product, selected by 54.2% and 56.6% of respondents respectively.


The market performance of male skincare products during the period of the 618 festival shows that the Chinese male skincare market has more demands than supplies. With the rapidly increasing number of Chinese male consumers looking for options in the market, the number of brands on the most popular online retail platform, Tmall, is not meeting the demand of consumers.


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