Nutrition and beauty in China: Formulas and active ingredients the key purchasing factors – Swisse research

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Preventing dark facial spots is one of the topmost priority for China consumers. ©Getty Images
Preventing dark facial spots is one of the topmost priority for China consumers. ©Getty Images

Related tags swisse China Beauty from within

A white paper on beauty and nutrition from Swisse focusing on the demographics in China found that consumers are most concerned with dark facial spots and the key determining factor for buying a product lies in the formula and active ingredients used.

The white paper was written based on an online survey which Swisse had conducted with major digital platforms such as Tencent.

A total of 14,352 survey responses was received between July 29 and August 25. Nine in ten of the respondents were females, only 7% of the respondents were males.

One-third of the respondents were higher income earners, with a monthly salary of over RMB$10k (US$1,496), while the rest were earning less than this amount.

Also, most of the individuals (35%) surveyed were civil servants or working in public institutions.

Results showed that the topmost concern was facial spots, with nearly 9,500 responses highlighting this as their main concern.

The other key concerns include skin dullness, dry skin, wrinkles, sagging skin, enlarged pores, pimples, oily skin, and skin redness and sensitivity.

Factors affecting purchase

China consumers tend to choose beauty products based on the active ingredients used and the product formulation, said the survey findings.

Product quality and brand are at the next most important factors, followed by price and recommendations from friends.  

Nearly eight in 10 (79%) said they have bought or considered buying a beauty-from-within supplement.

Examples of products purchased include those containing plant extract, such as grape seed, aloe vera, and products containing vitamins, minerals, or collagen.

For collagen products, the decision to buy a product lies in whether the collagen peptide is patented or clinically tested.

Consumers also make the decision based on recognition from industry experts, size of the peptide, and recommendations from celebrities or friends.

For the remaining 21% who have never purchased a nutricosmetics, they believe such products are ineffective or that the products are too expensive, or that they simply see no need for it.

Level of understanding

Chinese consumers are most familiar with protein and plant extracts as ingredients that can benefit skin health.

When it comes to skin elasticity and moisture, the majority understand that protein, such as high-quality protein and collagen intake is crucial.

Some also believe that vitamins C, E, B1, B2, plant extracts (including anthocyanin, proanthocyanidins, and carotene), lipids, and zinc are useful.

As for anti-oxidation and anti-wrinkle purposes, most believe that plant extracts, such as proanthocyanidins, soy isoflavone, and carotenoids are required.  

Vitamin E, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), vitamin A and vitamin C also made it into the list.

Lastly, for skin whitening, most believe that vitamin C is the most effective, followed by the B vitamins, vitamin E, glutathione, proanthocyanidins, and the amino acid cysteine.

Lifestyle change takes precedence

While consumers recognise the usefulness of certain ingredients in improving skin health, they believe that ultimately, the key to healthy skin lies in reducing stress and anxiety, followed by having ample sleep and eating a balanced diet.

Applying topical skincare products and consuming nutricosmetics are the next two most important steps, followed by going for medical aesthetics services.

“The poll showed that consumers surveyed already have a certain level of understanding for achieving healthy and beautiful skin and are of the opinion that lifestyle and skin health are closely intertwined,”​ the white paper said.  

A handful believe that nothing could be changed due to the genetic make-up.

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