It's looking pretty for L'Oreal in China after sales rebound

Beauty giant L'Oreal's China sales rebounded from mild growth in previous years, achieving double-digit growth in 2017 thanks to strong momentum in high-end beauty brands.

Beauty and cosmetics giant L'Oreal said its China sales rebounded from mild growth in previous years, registering double-digit growth in 2017 thanks to strong momentum in its luxury beauty brands.

Stephane Rinderknech, CEO of L'Oreal China, said he welcomes more imported beauty brands into China as more players would benefit from the growing market while giving a wider choice to consumers. He added that L'Oreal — which boasts 23 brands in China — would stick to its consumer-centric strategy, having served more than 100 million customers in the country in the past year. 

"This (more players) would give Chinese consumers more choices when it comes to imported goods. Also, the beauty market in China is not saturated yet, but still in its incumbency," Rinderknech told a press briefing in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Globally, the group's like-for-like sales increase was 4.8 percent with a total income of 26.02 billion euros (US$31.8 billion).

Chinese consumers’ craving for quality and experience and a rising middle class would continue to push the beauty market, for which L'Oreal is ideally placed, having consolidated its leading position in the luxury beauty division with the phenomenal performance of its Lancome and YSL brands.

Despite the brand's success, Rinderknech said L'Oreal intends to strengthen online-to-offline strategy to drive new retail initiatives, including renovating brand boutiques and department store counters, as well as opening flagship stores on e-commerce sites such as and Alibaba's Tmall.

Sales in emerging markets, including India, China and Russia, also picked up, rising 8.9 percent from the previous year to exceed 10 billion euros in 2017, he added.

Among L'Oreal's rivals, Tokyo-based Shiseido reported more than 18 percent sales growth to 1 trillion yen (US$9.19 billion) in the business year ending in December 2017, hitting a target that had been set for 2020, thanks to its strategy of promoting high-priced products, Nikkei News reported earlier this month.

Market research firm Euromonitor International estimates China's annual cosmetics sales to rise an average of about 9 percent and to exceed US$40 billion by 2021, surpassing the United States as the world's biggest market for makeup and skin care products.

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