China's beauty industry finds a growing market trend with men and the elderly

Li Qian
The Chinese beauty industry has expanded to men's cosmetics, and elderly make-up and attire. Studies show that men spend the same amount on cosmetics as their female counterparts.
Li Qian

The Chinese beauty industry is catering to men and the elderly as demands for diverse and inclusive beauty are increasing, an industrial report shows.

With more categories launched to fill market niches, male and elderly consumers are no longer marginal to the beauty industry, according to the report revealed on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Shanghai International Cosmetic Festival.

The report was presented by L'Oréal China and the National Business Daily, in partnership with the Institute of Industry Research of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Men born after the mid-1990s, commonly known as Gen-Z, care more about their facial attractiveness and spend freely on beauty products, report shows.

2021 figures show men's monthly spending on cosmetics is just as much as their female counterparts, ranging from 1,000 (US$144) to 2,000 yuan. Their demand has also expanded from simple skin care to makeup like lipstick, eye liner and foundation, which further fuels the "he-economy."

China's beauty industry finds a growing market trend with men and the elderly

China's top beauty livestreamer Li Jiaqi shows his lipstick collection.

China's top beauty influencer and livestreamer Li Jiaqi is commonly known as the "Lipstick King" as he set up his online livestream empire by promoting lipstick. He has been invited to promote the latest beauty products through online streaming during the one-month cosmetics festival.

Market researcher Euromonitor found the scale of the Chinese male cosmetic market soared from 10.4 billion yuan in 2013 to 16.6 billion yuan in 2021, and it's estimated to reach 24 billion yuan in 2027.

The elderly is another multibillion-dollar growth market opportunity, report shows.

The group has achieved an olive-shaped income distribution structure (larger in the middle and smaller at each end) where the middle class has played a central role, while the market supply represents a dumbbell-shaped structure (larger at two ends and smaller in the middle).

Unlike the last generations who value frugality and diligence, today's elders have regained a sense of their own worth and prefer to invest in themselves.

"Granny Wang Who Only Wears Highheels" is a good example. In her 80s, she loves sharing her makeup and attire on Douyin, which has earned her about 140 million followers.

The "grey-haired economy" is hailed as "rising-sun industry" in China, estimated to reach 19.1 trillion yuan by 2035, accounting for nearly 28 percent of the total consumption.

Special Reports