Pay attention to cosmetic reliable advice
Today, if a girl wants to buy a new lipstick, she doesn't have to scour the shelves of malls or independent stores for the most familiar name, thanks to an advertisement she happened to see on TV the day before -- just as I did a decade ago. Instead, she checks Red Book, an app with about 200 million users that has a large number of influencers and beauty bloggers, to see the recommendations and lipstick review notes of the beauty influencers they follow.
As China's more than 300 billion yuan ($41.94 billion) cosmetics market expands further -- retail sales grew 13.2 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year alone -- more and more cosmetics consumers, especially millennials, are increasingly influenced by online beauty influencers who make a living by recommending products. As a result, there has been a "zhongcao" phenomenon in China, where people develop a strong desire for a product due to someone's recommendation, and "explosion products" launched by beauty bloggers have seen huge sales.
Behind the seemingly blind loyalty of consumers to these key online opinion leaders lies a changing landscape of contemporary life and consumer behavior.
First of all, the rapid economic development has given birth to material culture. In the past few years, the number of cosmetics brands has increased many times. A search for lipstick on the Chinese-language website of international beauty brand Sephora returns hundreds of results. For the average consumer, many may not have an in-depth understanding of beauty products, which is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This means they need a helper to choose the products they want to buy.
Second, with the increasing workload and busy lifestyle, people have little time to buy products. In July, employees of Chinese companies worked an average of 46.5 hours a week and 9.3 hours a day, about 1.3 times the oecd international average of 36.8 hours a week in 2018. In 2018, employees of Chinese companies spent an average of 17 minutes a day buying products and services, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. As a result, it is almost impossible for Chinese consumers to meticulously browse through a wide range of products before choosing one or more.
Simply put, their time is too short and they are always seeking advice online to reduce the time they spend on shopping, whether it is cosmetics or daily necessities.
Third, the growing popularity of social media platforms such as Weibo and Redbook has given consumers direct access to these once-inaccessible celebrities and the products they use. Liking a blogger can also influence viewers' judgment, often leading to their approval, approval and eventual purchase of the product.
The rise of social media platforms has helped change the one-way selling model, in which consumers until recently were on the receiving end and had little say. Today, a large number of product reviews have greatly influenced consumer choices, creating a vicious or virtuous circle depending on the quality of the product in question. Therefore, consumers represented by beauty online celebrities have become active participants in product sales.
However, for Chinese grass culture, it is not all advantages and disadvantages. Just a few months ago, authorities ordered redbooks removed from several app stores for reasons ranging from fake recommendations.
This not only calls for clearer and stricter regulation of emerging social media and e-commerce platforms, but also serves as a wake-up call for consumers. Therefore, consumers should be extremely cautious before buying products recommended by their favorite people.
Considering that influencers' beauty products may not be suitable for them because the effects of the products are significantly different for different people with different skin and constitutions, consumers should err on the side of safety to save their hard-earned money and protect themselves from harm.
It is hoped that as new technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence mature, consumers will one day be able to receive reviews that take into account their body shape, products and ingredients, and recommend customized shopping services that best suit them.