Daily Insights

The Top 10 Beauty Brands in China

By: Asa Mazor-Freedman | Jul 06, 2020

As COVID-19 disrupts beauty sales worldwide, brands increasingly look to China as a source of growth in 2020. China’s vast beauty market remains as dynamic and competitive as ever, demanding brands be both quick to adopt new technologies and willing to invest. The top ten beauty brands in China’s digital ecosystem meet the ever-rising bar for customer experience on both established and emerging platforms, fully embrace new content types such as livestream, and invest in local celebrities and KOLs to drive campaigns.

1. Lancôme
Digital IQ: 147

Lancôme leads this year’s Beauty China DIQ, owing to the brand’s best-in-class loyalty program, significant paid media investments and quick adoption of commerce livestream. Lancôme has also innovated the commerce livestream format, as one of the first brands to invite celebrity ambassadors onto top KOL streams. 

2. Estée Lauder
Digital IQ: 143

Estée Lauder ranks as the second Genius brand in this year’s Index. The brand has developed an industry-leading WeChat presence in which multiple WeChat Mini-Programs and a brand zone link together as a seamless ecosystem. Estée Lauder’s celebrity ambassadors also drove huge buzz for the brand during the Double 11 shopping festival, and it has promoted Tmall marketing activations, such as Hey Box and Super Brand Day, more than any other prestige brand in the Index.

3. YSL Beauty
Digital IQ: 139

Strong KOL mentions for the brand’s Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Matte lipstick drove UGC and created buzz on RED for YSL. The brand also drove high engagement on Weibo through its strategy of using young pop idols as “friends of the brand” and leveraged branded filters on emerging channel Douyin to promote its lipstick. A best-in-class loyalty program incentivizes engagement and user-generated content 

4. L’Oréal Paris
Digital IQ: 137

Heavy investment in Douyin KOL seeding and partnerships with popular young actors as celebrity ambassadors sustained the brand’s strong equity position in 2020. L’Oréal Paris also remained the most discoverable skincare brand on Tmall and topped the Double 11 beauty rankings. With over 300,000 average views, L’Oréal Paris can boast industry-leading livestream performance as well.

5. Giorgio Armani Beauty
Digital IQ: 133

Giorgio Armani’s investment in hashtag campaigns and KOLs on RED made it an outlier on this emerging platform. Ambassador announcements for Jackson Wang and TFBoy Jackson Yee also gained outsized engagement on Weibo and WeChat.

6. Kiehl’s
Digital IQ: 132

A leading user experience across digital touchpoints and effective use of paid media earned Kiehl’s a place on the 2020 top ten. On Tmall, Kiehl’s performs well in search results and its cutting-edge flagship store features branded mini games and showcases ambassador Song Qian. Significant investment in paid media led to high brand buzz across Baidu, Weibo and WeChat.

7. Olay
Digital IQ: 131

Olay’s investment in KOLs on traditional social media channels Weibo and WeChat, coupled with high-performing video on the brand account, generated strong buzz on these social platforms. The brand also heavily promoted Tmall marketing tactics, helping it achieve high visibility on Tmall search results and high views on Taobao livestreams.

8. Perfect Diary
Digital IQ: 130

A mere three years after its founding, Perfect Diary rocketed into the top ten of this year’s beauty DIQ ranking. The brand’s focus on thought-leading platform RED and innovative micro-KOL strategy yielded strong organic mentions across social media. WeChat posts earned high engagement thanks to its pioneering “Private Traffic” strategy, which leverages small WeChat groups with a virtual influencer to keep consumers engaged with the brand.

9. Maybelline
Digital IQ: 128

Divesting in official content on WeChat and Weibo has not prevented Maybelline from achieving strong buzz across social media channels. Maybelline was also among the most visible brands in Tmall search results, while it promoted Tmall activations on social media and invested in engagement-driving Taobao livestreams.

10. Dior Beauty
Digital IQ: 125

Investment in KOLs, as well as strong brand buzz on WeChat and Baidu, drives Dior’s placement in this year’s top ten. Popular offline exhibitions for the brand’s fragrance line leveraged WeChat mini programs to enhance the visitor experience and promote social sharing. Dior is also one of the most active on Douyin, generating high mentions on the platform. An advanced brand site, with premium packaging and personalization services, also bolsters Dior’s digital presence.