Beauty is 4 Steps Away for Chinese Women


January 10, 2013

China is no exception to the trend of Beauty Boxes, this collection of small bottles/samples you suscribe to every month, most of the time. A business concentrated on Taobao, the leading C2C website, where cheap products stand alongside premium brands- originals and fakes. Pure players and leading cosmetic brands are logically taking positions, to better decipher the tastes and expectations of ever more numerous (affluent) consumers, and especially more and more loyal to their favorite brands.


Aggressive pricing VS Top of the range
The oversupply of cheap samples of mini-bottles and bag, testifies: volume and accessibility are Taobao’s key assets, with entry price at 3,5 Kwai, about 0.40€.
Making a good deal remains an obsession in China, and women, courted from all sides, do their shopping, shifting from one brand to another. However, more knowledgeable and image conscious, with growing purchase power, they look for more authenticity and services.

Hong Kongers MyLuxBox, precursor mid 2011, and Glamabox, French GlossyBox, or Chinese 1P1G, MeBox of Miqi, Jumei, or LolitaBox launched October 2012, are some of the recognized players, especially or mostly in China, to want to conquer this young and promising Beauty Box market. If the monthly subscription remains a pillar of the business model (generally between 60 and 100RMB), the offer (from basic to big brands, about 25 to 150Yuans, themes/limited editions, such as the first “Bride box” by Glamabox (in partnership with, services (consulting, exclusivity, VIP invitations, credits), image and pricing, distinguish each of the players.

“Free Testing” coexist with Boxes

Avène is on leading women’s portal Only Lady’s Cosmetic Testing Center, Lancôme proposed “Juicy 5 Days” on Mogujie one of China’s two leading social shopping networks, itself generating high traffic on Taobao. Mogujie also has its “Testing Center”: Mogushe, which offers netizens free samples (of MeBox, which can be transformed in credits) after they filled their profile, and gave their feedback on the product, of course.


Like on Only Lady and Mogushe, cosmetics Free Testing concept (also available for other sectors) spreaded out on Beauty forums to encourage users to share their opinions on products.
Many are well known such as KissMe, PC Lady, Tencent Women or Rayli the magazine of the same name, to name a few.

Mybeautybox by L’Oréal: 5 branded products for 150Yuans

September 2010, L’Oréal launched Mybeautybox on the Chinese market, with its dedicated weibo – close to 20,000 fans. Each month, netizens are invited to vote exclusively onlline for their favorite products, and therefore receive a selection of five brands, eg Lancome, Kiehls, Shu Uemura, Yue Sai and Helena Rubinstein, at a premium price, 150Yuans, about 18 € (vs. an average of $12).

For Guilhem Souche, General Manager e-commerce & emerging retail channels L’Oreal Luxe China: “It’s a recruitment tool that allows us to create a proprietary qualified database, sell on our e-commerce sites and generate buzz, especially relayed via weibo. We can offer tailored-man boxes, makeup, anti-aging etc.. And online conversion rates as well as in stores, are very good.”

Valentine’s Day or Chinese New Year are likely to be next on the calendar.

Two partners for Clarins

If you can find a wide range of samples of the brand on Taobao (ranging from 4 to 200Yuans +, where fakes coexist with originals), Clarins is also testing the market since September 2012, with a “Prestige” off and online strategy. Contrary to L’Oreal, Clarins has choosen externalisation to promote its feminine products –“our market share of products for Men is very low here, it is neither strategic nor tactical for us,” for Julien for Chiavassa, e-commerce manager China.

Like Caudalie, Clarins partnered with Glossybox (which is said to have around 15,000 registered members in China), for the launch of Prestige boxes exclusively in stores, in order to develop new clients acquisition.
In parallel, to contribute to its recently launched e-commerce website’s awareness, Clarins worked with MyLuxBox, a pioneer in the market (being purchased by the Chinese to propose exclusive online offers. 3 000 boxes were sold in 7 hours, December 26, 2012.


In order to boost buzz and visibility, in addition to its weibo account pillar of its social media dynamics, Clarins makes use of Glossybox KOLs (Key Opinion Leader)- to whom it offers boxes – and the platform’s influential partners, such as magazines, like Vogue.


Laure de Carayon

The article was published in French on




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