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The global coronavirus pandemic impacted nearly every industry, including beauty. And while it created short-term demand for certain products, it did not change the desire among Chinese consumers for anti-aging ingredients that help to create and maintain healthy looking skin.
With the use of hand sanitizers skyrocketing over the past few months, people were (and are still) looking for products that soothe with moisturization and barrier protection properties. But we have also observed that in the past six months (November 2019 – April 2020), ‘anti-aging’ remains the most-searched ingredient among Chinese consumers.1
The external environment certainly encourages this trend. The aging population is growing globally, with China in the lead: according to Euromonitor, China alone will experience an addition of almost 90 million people aged 65+ by 2030, about the same size as the population of Germany. The government has also been initiating a late retirement policy to fit this trend.
Another strong signal of increased consumer awareness towards anti-aging comes from the sun care segment. In recent years, promoted by cosmetics KOLs or mass media, UV protection was positioned to be the very first step in aging prevention.
Given these external factors, consumers awareness of anti-aging has grown in recent years across age groups. According to a Mintel report among a group of Chinese women with respondents from ages 20 to 49, about 80% of them have taken actions to prevent aging or for repair, regardless of any signs of aging. Up to 60% of respondents think their skin does show signs of aging and have taken reparative action. Respondents ages 20-24 are less likely to see signs of aging on their skin, but they are also taking action to prevent skin aging.
According to the same report by Mintel, 63% of female respondents use anti-aging products to improve overall skin condition instead of focusing on a single need, while 61% of female respondents agree that using anti-aging products helps to keep healthy looking skin.
Anti-aging claims will continue to resonate with Chinese women, as attitudes reflect the importance of aging prevention within overall self-care. According to a report by Mintel2, the majority of Chinese women age 20-49 agree that women should look after their appearance regardless of age, and that paying attention to anti-aging means taking care of oneself. Over a third agree that the earlier you start taking anti-aging actions, the better the results. Therefore, self-care is a powerful marketing angle for anti-aging products.
We also see an increasing number of segments that reflect consumers’ aspirations in anti-aging. As mentioned earlier, one reason to explain the growing sun care market in China is that more and more consumers see using skin care products with SPF as an essential step for aging prevention. In fact, the purchase behavior of Chinese consumers in sun care products has been moving from seasonal buying to year-round purchasing (Kantar Worldpanel).
Consumers’ aspirations for anti-aging solutions is two-fold: the top priority is to solve specific problems with ingredients that show efficacy, i.e. reducing signs of wrinkles, collagen boosting. Here, we can provide support with a wide range of personal care ingredients suitable for multiple application areas that emphasize safety, quality and substantiation. On the other hand, brands should also work to build a strong emotional connection with consumers to take care of their ultimate need in anti-aging: supporting a healthy-looking appearance and boosting confidence.
To support brands, we’ve prepared a total solution for anti-aging covering the sun care, skin care and hair care applications. This solution provides a full set of cosmetic formulations with rational selection of our best-in-class ingredients while also touching on different age groups with regard to skin care concerns and the underlying emotions.
2 “Attitudes Towards Appearance and Aging,” February 2019, Mintel