Mobile is an opportunity for Beauty brands in the Chinese market as Chinese online shoppers are more open to purchase online. 46% of Chinese consumers regularly buy items on their smartphones and 41% do so on their tablet device, much higher than the U.S. ratios of 15% and 9% respectively. The younger generation is especially receptive; 32% of Taobao and Tmall sales on Singles Day (November 11) were on mobile.
Mobile and tablet shopping options could be better. Less than a third are optimized for mobile and 85% are not optimized for tablets. Other than Chanel, L’Occitane, Salvatore Ferragamo, La Prairie and Sephora, China Beauty sites do not have responsive design. On mobile app WeChat, a quarter of brand accounts link to desktop brand sites.
A few exceptions are ahead of the curve. Local brand Herboist and 13 others offer direct-to-consumer e-commerce on their mobile sites. Maybelline and Olay’s mobile-optimized sites link to their Tmall shops. Sephora’s iOS and Android-compatible mobile app saves loyalty program data, has a geolocal store locator with a check-in function, and features daily Beauty news. Avene’s non-ecommerce enabled app allows fans to take a skin test and verify product authentication on the go. Our Digital IQ Index: Beauty | China found L’Occitane’s mobile and tablet site to be best in class.
As mobile shopping interest in China is growing at a fast pace, investment in mobile sites, apps, and search would not be a waste. And as few brands are doing so, those taking the first step would have a competitive edge over others.