By Ellen Huber
Image credit: Kurt Budiarto.
China’s new and lovely first lady Peng Liyuan is a business and beauty ambassador. Like any smart business woman, when she visited three African countries last month she came bearing gifts: Chinese brand Pehchaolin beauty products. Peng has embraced her role as brand ambassador for China’s burgeoning luxury goods market (while her husband encourages cadres to cut down on conspicuous consumption).
Want Chinese Times reports that following Peng’s visits store and online sales of Pehchaolin (and even other domestic brands) have been boosted. This upturn is in stark contrast to trends in recent years. Several major Chinese beauty brands have fallen into near obscurity after an invasion of imports stormed the domestic market.
The China Business Journal says “The Peng Effect” has given hope to these suffering Chinese brands. Pehchaolin, along with Lanterns and Yongmei, have all seen increased sales thanks in part to Peng’s popularity.
Despite Pehchaolin’s drastic measures to up sales over recent years, nothing worked quite as well as the first lady’s unofficial endorsement. The beauty line tried seeking venture partners, introducing new skin care products, and even buying TV ad space worth 70 million yuan. But once Pehchaolin gave women the convenience of in-store stock (coupled with Peng’s stamp of approval), sales started rising.
Tmall, one of China’s direct producer-consumer exchange websites, saw sales of 4,690 sets of Pehchaolin skin care products per month while other skin care lines fell short at an average of 4,262 sales per month.
Trends also indicate that Chinese lines are also demonstrating market savvy by rebranding when necessary. Shanghai Vive, for example, evolved to a luxury brand specializing in personal care products in convenient Shanghai Vive brand shops. Female Chinese consumers have shown definitively that they love three things: luxury, convenience, and Peng Liyuan.