The fact that Benefit has withdrew counters in a wide range is only a microcosm of the current changes in the Chinese makeup market. This reflects the fact that the Chinese beauty market is quite competitive and it is only a matter of time before international brands are eliminated from the market if they fail to keep up with the changing needs of Chinese consumers.
Benefit, a brand that grew up and rose in the U.S. It has already been a major international brand, was founded by twin sisters who joined forces to create this beauty empire.
Benefit is a high-end beauty brand from San Francisco. The brand upholds the philosophy that “Smiling is the best makeup.”. Its first Face Place boutique was opened in San Francisco in 1976 by Jean & Jane. By 1990, Face Place was rebranded as Benefit Cosmetics. The following year, the first counter was opened in Henri Bendel’s department store in New York City, USA.
As a result, this one-of-a-kind beauty brand has taken off and is quickly becoming a global sensation. As the world’s No.1 brow brand, Benefit is also seen as synonymous with “happy beauty” and “instant beauty solutions”.
In 1999, Benefit was acquired by LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group. Until 2012, the founders, the twin sisters, were still in charge of the products. In December 2020, Jane Ford, the brand’s co-founder, died on December 1 at the age of 73 at her home in Tiburon, California, due to long-term health issues while Jane Ford’s twin sister, Gene Ford, had died of cancer in 2019.
In 2007, Benefit officially entered China, opening the first 2 counters in Shanghai and Beijing and setting a new sales record in Asia on the first day of store opening. In 2008, it entered Sephora China and will open stores in China one after another.
Brow products are the main products of Benefit, from eyebrow pencils, eyebrow powders, eyebrow gel and eyebrow liquid to brow highlighters, Benefit has introduced almost every makeup product that can groom your brows.
In addition, the brand also set brow bars that specialize in providing brow grooming services in Benefit’s offline stores. In the 14 years since its entry into China, Benefit has established itself as the “brow expert” in the Chinese market with a range of eyebrow products and offline eyebrow grooming services.
When it entered the Chinese market in 2007, Benefit quickly gained a foothold with its retro girly packaging and a few classic products. Nowadays, the Chinese beauty market is changing. As many international first-line brands coming out with new products, Chinese cosmetic brands represented by Perfect Diary, JudyDoll and Floasis also have their own star products. The development of Benefit, on the other hand, is almost at a standstill. Its products that are remembered by people are not much different from those of more than a decade ago.
In March 2021, Benefit underwent a China-wide withdrawal of its counters. In April, it essentially completely quit the offline counter channel. Benefit responded that the brand is adjusting its business model in China as the general retail environment and trends change. The brand will gradually withdraw its department store counters and will be mainly available at Sephora and Tmall online official flagship stores in the future.
As a cosmetic mall chain, Sephora is owned by the same group of LVMH as Benefit. It is certainly a more cost effective way for Benefit to locate its counters in Sephora. And from LVMH’s financial report, the group has long planned for the contraction of Benefit sales channels. In March 2021, LVMH released its 2020 financial report, which mentioned that business of Benefit was hampered by the closure of points of sale.
Not only have the products failed to keep up with the times, but price is another point that Benefit has been criticized. Prior to the launch of the mini, most of Benefit single products were priced above $31.26, such as the Pore fessional Primer at around $45.33 and 24-HR Brow Setter at around $48.45. However, the Chinese brand was able to low the unit price of products in these categories to just $10 and the quality was not very different. With the launch of the minis, its unit price was reduced to nearly half of the regular volume but the price advantage was not significant either.
In terms of channels, Benefit has also failed to catch the opportunity of the Chinese e-commerce dividend. Although settling on Chinese popular e-commerce platform Tmall since 2011, Benefit decided to quit after six months and re-launched Tmall in 2017. As its iterative strategy led the brand to miss out on the accumulation of market share for beauty brands online. And after the closure of fooline stores in the aftermath of the pandemic directly impacted the beauty counters, Benefit’s response in the Chinese market lagged much behind compared to Chinese brands and was unsuccessful in the era of live stream.
Some sources said: The fact that Benefit has withdrew counters in a wide range is only a microcosm of the current changes in the Chinese makeup market. Similar problems still exist in many international brands, such as the first generation of Korean makeup brand Etude House, the natural beauty brand Jurlique, and Face Shop. This reflects the fact that the Chinese beauty market is quite competitive and it is only a matter of time before international brands are eliminated from the market if they fail to keep up with the changing needs of Chinese consumers.