Well, this is news we’ve been waiting a long time for! From the 1st of May this year, animal testing is no longer required on general cosmetics imported into China, if they meet the requirements set out by China’s NMPA (National Medical Products Administration).
While cosmetics manufactured in China haven’t had to test on animals since 2014, foreign brands bizarrely weren’t exempt. Until this year, imported cruelty-free cosmetics brands wanting to sell in China had to either sell through cross border ecommerce and bonded warehouses in free trade zones, or sell their soul and test on animals, which brands like Jurlique, NARS, L’Occitane, Yves Rocher and Caudalie did. Chinese consumers missed out, ethical brands did too, and animals were unnecessarily harmed.
The regulatory changes are only positive for cruelty-free brands, but it is unlikely their fortunes are going to change overnight. China Skinny has been monitoring purchasing motivations for beauty products through our Trackers. At this point in time, Chinese consumers place little importance on whether a product is tested on animals. It does vary by city, but overall is it one of the least sought-after product features; less so than vegan, cannabidiol and other criteria.
The appeal of cruelty free cosmetics is likely to increase with more related brands coming to the market. They will undoubtedly educate consumers and raise their awareness about making more ethical choices. Whilst ethical purchasing isn’t as developed in China as other markets, this is changing, particularly among the younger tribes. Consumers are reflecting more as a result of Covid and we’re seeing more signs of conscious consumption. Covid has also accelerated an affection for pets, which should translate to more empathy towards animals overall. But until preference has shifted towards cruelty free cosmetics in China, brands will need to provide additional, resonant reasons to stand out in China’s crowded beauty market.
The ability to sell through standard trade in brick & mortar stores will be a positive development for cruelty free brands. Although cosmetics has one of the highest portions of products sold online – 50% by some measures – being across online and offline channels is mutually beneficial for brands. More tangible touch points will build awareness and educate through tactile means, helping reinforce a brand’s identity and encourage trial. A thoughtful strategy integrating these touch points should be the aim of brands. China Skinny can assist your brand to develop this.
The announcement of cruelty free regulations is timely for China Skinny, as it coincides with the launch of our Beauty Tracker dashboard, allowing brands to utilise near real-time ecommerce data and consumer insights to optimise marketing and channel strategies, positioning, pricing and discounting, comms, trend spotting, new product development, benchmarking and planning. More information here. The Beauty Tracker joins the Skincare Tracker as the must-have tools for cosmetics brands in China.
In other news, we’re hiring. If you are a superstar, or aspire to be one, you’ll be a good fit for the Skinny team. We’re looking for curious and intelligent new members to join the team in central Shanghai. You’ll get to work with some of the most famous global brands, right through to dynamic, innovative small and medium enterprises from every corner of the world. You can find out more here. If you know someone who may be interested, please pass this on.
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