With Market Size Reaching 25.57 Billion yuan by 2025, Inner Beauty Becomes Popular in China

Shiseido announced that it will launch a new brand called SHISEIDO BEAUTY WELLNESS (“SBW”) in February 2024, marking its full-scale entry into the inner beauty business. SBW will serve as Shiseido’s first foray into the health sector, to help individuals pursue their unique beauty and wellness. Shiseido stated that starting in 2025, SBW products will be available in Asian markets, including China.

Shiseido launches a new inner beauty brand

Shiseido announced that as the first step in fully operating its inner beauty business, SBW has collaborated with Tsumura & Co. and Kagome Co., Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer and distributor of food and vegetable juices using tomatoes as the main ingredient, to develop products. Starting from 2025, SBW will be launched in Asian markets, including China.

Furthermore, SBW plans to collaborate with professional partners in their respective fields to provide new beauty solutions by achieving harmony in skin, body, and mind. SBW will also participate in new market development by introducing a new beauty and wellness program called “J-Beauty Wellness” and spreading it globally.

Regarding the comprehensive operation of the inner beauty business, Shiseido stated that driven by its corporate mission of “Beauty Innovation for a Better World,” the company aspires to “become a global winner based on its heritage” and aims to position itself as a “Personal Beauty Health Company” by 2030. This is in response to its “Shift 2025 and Beyond” mid- to long-term business strategy.

On February 10, 2023, with the appointment of Kentaro Fujiwara, Shiseido announced its three-year mid-term business strategy called “SHIFT 2025 and Beyond.” The strategy aims to strengthen investments in the three priority areas of brand, innovation, and talent and signifies the company’s shift from a defensive to an offensive stance for further growth under a new management structure. Additionally, Kentaro Fujiwara introduced the group’s transformation strategy of “Self-Innovation, Future Growth,” which aims to transform the business structure through three pillars: profit growth, reduction of fixed costs, and cultural reform. The goal of this transformation is to achieve a core operating profit of 50 billion yen by 2025.

Against this backdrop, in May of this year, Shiseido decided to transfer the pharmaceutical business of Shiseido Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and absorb it into Shiseido Japan Co., Ltd. This move aims to identify the growing areas of “Clean & Dermatology” and “Inner beauty” as new opportunities for growth. The launch of the new brand and the full-scale operation of its inner beauty business are strategic responses to its mid-term business strategy, and they represent Shiseido’s pursuit of change after experiencing growth bottlenecks.

In the first half of this year, Shiseido achieved net sales of 494.2 billion yen, a slight increase of 0.2% compared to the previous year, and an operating profit of 13.6 billion yen, a decrease of 19.7% compared to the previous year. Net sales in China amounted to 130.6 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 12.8% and an actual increase of 9.9%, accounting for 26.4% of the total. Net sales in Japan in the first half of the year amounted to 125.2 billion yen, accounting for 25.3% and a year-on-year increase of 8.2%. Net sales in other regions showed varying degrees of decline.

Looking at the financial report for the first half of this year, although net sales in the Chinese and Japanese markets have increased, overall performance has not shown significant recovery, lagging the performance of other international beauty giants. Among the top ten global beauty companies in the first half of this year, only Estée Lauder and Natura experienced revenue declines, while other companies in the beauty industry achieved good growth. The full-scale operation of its inner beauty business represents Shiseido’s search for new growth drivers after facing performance bottlenecks. The introduction of the new brand SBW specifically targeting the Chinese market reflects the promising prospects of inner beauty in the Chinese market.

The market size of the inner beauty market in China is expected to reach 25.57 billion yuan by 2025

Inner beauty refers to the use of internal consumption to achieve effects such as whitening, anti-aging, moisturizing, and hair loss prevention. According to the “2021 Overview of the Chinese Inner beauty Industry,” the inner beauty market in China is projected to become the second-largest market in the Asia-Pacific region, following closely behind Japan, and accounting for nearly 30% of the global market share in 2022. The latest data from the Head Leopard Research Institute also indicates that the Chinese inner beauty industry still has growth potential and is poised for a new phase of rapid development. It is expected that the market size will reach 25.57 billion yuan by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.8%.

In the post-pandemic era, the health industry has transitioned from a trend to a reality, driven by the aesthetics economy, and inner beauty has become a new focus of market demand. As early as 2020, according to official data from Taobao, during the “618” shopping festival that year, the turnover of inner beauty products increased by an astonishing 2,266% within the first 7 minutes, surpassing other categories with its remarkable average growth rate, and becoming one of the top three most popular categories on the Tmall platform.

As inner beauty has regained popularity in China, major beauty brands have also launched their Inner beauty brands.

According to statistics, in recent years, domestic beauty companies including BTN, Bloomage Biotech, and SYoung Group have successively introduced nearly 10 inner beauty products, with the majority of them featuring collagen and hyaluronic acid as key ingredients.

Bloomage Biotech, as the leading hyaluronic acid company in China and even globally, naturally wouldn’t miss this trend. In 2022 alone, Bloomage Biotech launched three brands related to inner beauty.

On March 22nd last year, Bloomage Biotech introduced the first domestic hyaluronic acid drinking water called WHATER. WHATER was the application of hyaluronic acid in the field of empty stomach beauty after Bloomage Biotech successfully led the application of hyaluronic acid in food and launched the hyaluronic acid food brand Hyalur. The WHATER hyaluronic acid drinking water is the first of its kind in China, with a simple formula containing only purified water and hyaluronic acid, without additives or preservatives, and it is packaged in a sterile manner. Each bottle of water contains 66mg of food-grade hyaluronic acid. The raw material used in WHATER hyaluronic acid drinking water is HAPLEX Plus, a food-grade hyaluronic acid material independently developed and produced by Bloomage Biotech.

On September 6th, 2022, Bloomage Biotech’s WPLUS+ launched a new product, a complex drink combining sodium hyaluronate and collagen peptides. This is the third inner beauty product launched by Bloomage Biotech within a year, following the WHATER and hyaluronic acid fruit wine. Relying on Bloomage Biotech’s exclusive compound ingredient “5Pro+ HA” developed for the brand and many cutting-edge biotechnologies, WPLUS+ is dedicated to creating a series of more advanced, professional, and effective oral technological products focusing on healthy body shape, healthy skin, and healthy nutrition.

In addition to Bloomage Biotech, another domestic beauty company, BTN, also launched inner beauty products last year. In July, BTN officially introduced the anti-aging brand AOXMED. The main products under AOXMED’s Cuiyan series are two functional beverages: GABAPORIA COCOSγ-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID DRINK and ROSA ROXBURGHII POMEGRANATE DRINK. Pomegranate contains vitamin C, which has whitening and spot-lightening effects, as well as antioxidant properties that can increase skin elasticity and slow down the aging process.

At the same time, SYoung Group also invested in the controversial inner beauty product Fivedoctors, which previously caused controversy due to exaggerated marketing. According to data, Fivedoctors was founded on July 12, 2019, and its main product is a collagen peptide vitamin C drink.

Once launched, Fivedoctors attracted a lot of attention. According to the Securities Times’ report, just two months after its establishment, Fivedoctors achieved sales in the millions. In November 2021, they collaborated with a well-known IP on Douyin and secured first place on the dietary category rankings, as well as the champion on Tmall’s supplement ranking during the same period. In December of the same year, they also won first place on Tmall’s supplement category dark horse ranking. By March 2022, they further expanded and acquired three factories. According to data from the Chanmama platform, “Five Female Doctors” ranked first on the Douyin healthcare brand sales list in April, with monthly sales reaching a scale of 75-100 million yuan.

In addition to these, CR Sanjiu launched the inner beauty brand White Peach Tao, which includes the product “Collagen Peptide Elastic Protein Juice Drink.” Shiseido introduced a new inner beauty brand in China this year called “Flowflection,” featuring the product “Firming and Wrinkle-Lightening Purple Charm.” WonderLab also launched a drink product containing fish collagen tripeptide.

As can be seen, against the backdrop of rising consumer demand, inner beauty has become popular in China since last year, and various beauty companies have quickly launched or invested in Inner beauty products, igniting another wave of inner beauty trends in China.

The trend under policy support

According to the data analysis platform DSA, a healthcare e-commerce platform under Early Data, inner beauty (beauty from within) has become one of the core categories in China’s nutrition and health market. In the first quarter of 2023, sales reached 2.2 billion RMB (excluding Douyin and Xiaohongshu), accounting for 13% of the overall market. Sales increased by 39% compared to the same period last year, surpassing the market growth rate of 34.6%. This demonstrates the rapid development of inner beauty in China.

Several reasons are contributing to the rapid development of inner beauty in China.

Firstly, inner beauty has a long history of consumer demand in China, with a certain consumer base.

As early as the 1990s, inner beauty gained popularity in China. In 1992, Shenzhen Taitai Pharmaceutical Company Limited launched a product called “Ta-Ta Oral Liquid,” which combined oral health supplements with beauty benefits. This product quickly gained consumer favor and led to the concept of inner beauty. By 1995, the sales of Ta-Ta Oral Liquid exceeded 150 million yuan, and in 2001, Shenzhen Taitai Pharmaceutical Company Limited was successfully listed on the A-share market. This illustrates that Chinese consumers were already familiar with inner beauty.

However, at that time, the inner beauty market faced issues of inadequate regulations. In 2013, CCTV’s Focus Report questioned the efficacy of collagen drinks and exposed their production costs. Consumer Reports also revealed the test results of various collagen drinks on the market, pointing out that the “Ta-Ta Oral Liquid” product did not contain collagen ingredients. With media exposure, the flaws in the inner beauty and health supplement market gradually surfaced, including the lack of clear regulatory standards, insignificant efficacy, low production costs, and low research and development investment. As a result, this category gradually fell into silence.

The second reason is that the domestic inner beauty market has gradually benefited from favorable policies.

On January 7, 2021, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China issued a document approving sodium hyaluronate as a “new food ingredient” that can be used in general food additives. Subsequently, many food products primarily composed of hyaluronic acid emerged in the market. To cater to the demands of young consumers, these products are often presented in the form of snacks, such as various beverages, gummies, and jellies containing collagen and hyaluronic acid, which have gained popularity.

This second reason also addressed the problem of inadequate regulations in the inner beauty market at that time, gradually rekindling the attention of Chinese consumers to inner beauty. It is also one of the reasons for the collective outbreak of inner beauty products in 2022.

The third reason is that the development of the collagen and hyaluronic acid markets in China has also contributed to the advancement of inner beauty.

Collagen has experienced rapid development in China in recent years and has gained increasing attention in the industry. On July 20 this year, Jinbo Bio, known as the first A-share company in the field of recombinant collagen, was listed on the Beijing Stock Exchange. Jinbo Bio is a leading domestic company that has achieved the industrialization of recombinant human collagen.

Recently, another Chinese recombinant collagen enterprise, Trautec, announced that it has completed over 200 million RMB in Series B financing, led by L Catterton, the world’s largest consumer products private equity firm, and CLSA Capital Partners under CITIC Securities. According to public information, Trautec has successfully achieved large-scale and standardized production of recombinant collagen types I, II, III, and XVII. Among them, recombinant type XVII collagen is the first independently developed transmembrane collagen successfully realized on a large scale globally and can be applied in the beauty and personal care field.

China’s hyaluronic acid industry is also globally leading. According to reports, China’s fermentation technology, production volume, and quality of hyaluronic acid have reached internationally advanced levels. As the world’s largest producer and seller of hyaluronic acid raw materials, China’s hyaluronic acid raw material sales accounted for 82.0% of the global total in 2021. Bloomage Biotech is the world’s largest producer and seller of hyaluronic acid, with a sales share of 44% in 2021.

The development of raw materials is also an important factor enabling the rapid development of inner beauty in China.

It can be said that inner beauty better satisfies people’s pursuit of beauty in terms of effectiveness, taste, and portability. However, with the increasing competition within the beauty industry, each brand needs to engage in independent innovative thinking and communicate with consumers of all age groups in various aspects. Only by starting from modern lifestyles and demands, and segmenting the market, can brands sustain their vitality.

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