Since 1828, when Pierre Francois Pascal Guerlain, a physician and pharmacist, opened the first perfume shop in Paris, France, Guerlain, inseparable from perfume, has been spread. In 1830, Guerlain attempted to customize the perfume for individual, which means that a specific scent dedicated to a particular woman or made especially for a certain occasion. Following this concept, Guerlain also created a series of beauty prescriptions and came to prominence in daily skin care products and cosmetics.
In 1939, Guerlain opened its first beauty and skincare centre at 68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris and created his own unique French massage method which became the meeting place of the French fashion circle at the time. The young man, who made his name in perfumery, was later hired as the exclusive perfumer for the royal family. Since 1955, Guerlian has been putting more effort into skin care and cosmetics then he opened manufacturing and research centers one after another. In 1980, the “Issima collection” represented elegant and luxurious style of Guerlain, was created, which put Guerlain into a professional skincare brand.
In the 90s, luxury goods were concentrated in the Chinese market and Guerlain also entered China at that time. However, Guerlain, known as the “Queen of Fragrances”, did not apply fragrances as a point into the Chinese market but chose its skincare and color cosmetics business.
In 2005, Guerlain tried to expand the market share of its fragrance products in China by recommending different styles of fragrances for different consumers through offline stores but the results were not as good as expected since perfume was not widely popular in China at that time with a slow development and small market volume overall. By 2018, the Chinese perfume market also only accounted for 1% of the global perfume market.
In fact, Guerlain has gone through a period of confusion over the 20 years since it entered in China. In the era of traditional retail, luxury goods expanded their business and prestige by offline stores and advertising and marketing. Holding exhibitions was one of the easiest ways to build brand image.
After entering China, Guerlain has held several exhibitions, such as the Guerlain France KISSKISS Kiss Kiss Lipstick Experience Tour in 2005 and the Guerlain France 100 Years of Excellence Exhibition in Shanghai Meilongzhen Square in 2011. Although Guerlain impressed the visitors, more consumers could not come to visit or simply did not know the information of the exhibitions.
As a traditional French brand with a history of 193 years, Guerlain has found a balance between heritage and innovation in the Chinese market. On the basis of inheriting the brand connotation of elegance and sophistication, Guerlain has integrated modern communication and marketing concepts to successfully attract the attention of the new generation of consumers.
Based on the analysis of young people, Guerlain chose social media platforms, which are mainly for young users, as an important channel for advertising, and adopted diversified and creative communication methods to convey the brand’s connotation to the new generation of young consumers. The day September 7th in 2016 was a milestone moment for Guerlain, which officially registered on the Tmall platform(one of the most popular comprehensive shopping websites in China). Its official flagship store was opened on the Tmall platform. In this way, Guerlain completed coverage of online and offline through all channels.
During Guerlain’s Tmall Super Brand Day 2018, Guerlain launched its star product of its ABEILLE ROYALE Collection – ADVANCED YOUTH WATERY OIL. Since it is not restricted by geographic regions, Tmall leapt to become the highest selling channel for the product globally on Super Brand Day achieving much higher results than the second largest channel, which was surprised by Guerlain’s headquarters executives.
Guerlain’s parent company, LVMH, has reported a 10% year-on-year increase in sales in its fragrance and beauty division to $7.041 billion for the 2018 financial year, according to the group. The group commented on Guerlain’s “significant growth”, with China being one of the fastest growing markets for the brand and the group.
The Chinese market has become a must-have place for luxury goods. Laurent Boillot, president and CEO of Guerlain France, once joked that Guerlain’s meridian had been moved from Greenwich, England, to China.
By pre-sale in the first day of the 2019 Tmall Double 11 – Chinese Online Shopping Carnival , high-end cosmetics were popular in the Tmall so much so that Guerlain sold out its entire Chinese warehouse and had to transfer stock from around the world.
The core ingredients of ADVANCED YOUTH WATERY OIL of Guerlain extracted from the honey from black bee of the French island in Ouessant. During the pre-sale, Guerlain’s official flagship store broke 0.15 billion dollars in 12 minutes and the ADVANCED YOUTH WATERY OIL was sold out of stock. In this case, Guerlain had to hang out a flirtatious apology announcement in the official flagship store of Tmall: “Please forgive that the black bees in Uéchain without 996 work schedule(work from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week).”
For more than 20 years since its entry into the Chinese market, Guerlain has incorporated its reverence and appreciation for nature into its brand philosophy in the name of beauty. It has been actively involved in the protection of biodiversity, the development of eco-design, the protection of the climate environment, the promotion of cooperative projects and other causes. It constantly conveys the brand vision and value pursuit of Guerlain France to Chinese consumers.
In 2009, Guerlain entered into a partnership with the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve in Yunnan, China, to create the “Tianzi” Biodiversity Development Center. It seeks to protect precious rainforests and orchids in their natural habitat. Iin China, Guerlain and Shanshui Nature Conservation Center are working together to protect bees. Starting in 2020, Guerlain and Shanshui teamed up and worked together on “Apis cerana conservation and sustainable community development” in Shaanxi Province.