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Retail sales of cosmetics in China by month 2018-2020

In December 2020, cosmetics retail sales in China amounted to around 32.42 billion yuan. This indicated approximately nine percent increase in revenue compared to December of the previous year. In contrast, the market witnessed a significant decrease in revenue during the first months of 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which affected consumer goods sales in general.

Cosmetics retail development

In the last decade, the cosmetics market in China has been developing rapidly. In 2019, the retail sales value of cosmetic products reached the record high of 299.2 billion yuan. As the demand for cosmetic products expands further in second-and third-tier cities of China, cosmetics retail is expected to maintain its growth momentum in the near future. In addition, the changing attitude among men towards skin-care fosters the booming of men's cosmetics market in China. From 2013 to 2018, the sales value of men’s grooming products in China increased by around 37 percent.

Brands and sales channels

Foreign cosmetics brands play a dominant role in China’s cosmetics market. Seven out of ten leading beauty and personal care product brands in China were foreign-funded, accounting for nearly half of the overall market. L’Oréal, the world’s third-largest cosmetics company, still holds the largest share in China’s overall cosmetics market as well as color cosmetic product market, despite of a significant decline in market share since 2011. Apart from an adjusted brand strategy, shifting preferences among Chinese consumers towards premium brands and increasing competition may be seen as the main reasons for the steady decline of L’Oréal’s share in the color cosmetics subsector.

Among the main distribution channels for cosmetic retail in China, online retail has been expanding significantly over recent years, while traditional retail channels such as hypermarkets and department stores were losing ground. In 2018, online shopping accounted for around 74 percent of China’s overall cosmetics retail sales and was forecasted to reach nearly 80 percent by 2024.

Retail trade revenue of cosmetics in China from December 2018 to December 2020

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Release date

January 2021



Survey time period

December 2018 to December 2020

Supplementary notes

* According to the source, figures for January and February have been grouped together to curb the influence of the Chinese New Year on the statistic. Chinese New Year falls between January 21 and February 21.

One yuan equals approximately 0.15 U.S. dollars and 0.13 euros (as of January 2021).

According to the source, retail sales refer to the trade revenue of tangible goods not intended for business use traded from wholesale and retail companies to individuals or non producing social organizations. Figures include total revenues of the food and beverage service industry.
During the survey, only wholesale companies with an annual revenue of 20 million yuan and above as well as retail companies with an annual revenue of five million yuan were questioned.

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Statistics on "Cosmetics market in China"

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