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Cosmeceuticals in China

By Ally Dai, Happi China | March 1, 2012

Although the term “cosmeceutical” is difficult to define, products claiming to be cosmeceuticals are increasingly found on the shelves of drugstores and personal care stores throughout China, such as Watsons. Chinese consumers often relate this type of products with better safety and efficacy, although what they expect and what they actually get might be disjoined.

Although there is no clear-cut definition for cosmeceuticals, which in general refer to cosmetic products with drug-like benefits, China is expected to move into this market in a bold way, since consumers here are prepared to pay extra for premium products with better safety and efficacy. With the rise of a more knowledgeable, wealthy and beauty-conscious class of urban consumers, cosmeceuticals have come a long way in recent years to become one of the fastest-growing cosmetic options.

While there are few consolidated statistics for the cosmeceuticals market, the latest Euromonitor report on China medicated skin care can give us some clues about what’s going on in this area. Classifying medicated skin care into different treatments for skin diseases such as acne, skin allergy and hair loss, the report covers the subcategories that can be regarded as cosmeceuticals. According to the report, medicated skin care accounts for 21% of total OTC market size, and 2010 sales rose 10% to nearly $1.1 billion. Due to the growing population as well as growing awareness of self-medication, sales are expected to reach nearly $1.6 billion in 2015—a CAGR of 8%.

In contrast, although hair loss treatments and acne treatments account for small shares of the medicated skin care segment, they experienced the fastest growth from 2005 to 2010, representing CAGRs of 17.2% and 14.2%, respectively, during that period. This reflects the fact that the cosmeceutical market is presently dominated by these two subcategories of cosmeceuticals. However, injectable and other key subcategories, such as tooth whitening, lip protection and anti-aging, are also boosting profits for cosmetic companies, as new research into ingredients such as stem cells and nanomaterials are changing the face of cosmeceuticals.

Ally Dai
Happi China

Ally Dai is senior editor of Happi China. She has more than 10 years of experience in the cosmetic and food industries. Happi China is a leading media for the China household & personal care industry. Published by Ringier Trade Media in strategic editorial partnership with Happi, it helps local manufacturers update their knowledge on formulating, testing and packaging, as well as providing market insight.
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