Here, we present to you 5 key takeaways from our first-hand observations of this large and critical event in our industry. More details and a deep-dive into certain topics of this report will also be covered in the upcoming weeks in our blog, so be sure to keep an eye on it.

1. The Chinese personal care market is huge, still rapidly growing, and full of opportunities for collaboration, thereby making it a crucial point of focus.

  • According to Euromonitor International, in 2018, the Chinese personal care market was worth 58.77bn USD.
  • PCHi, with 600+ exhibitors and 20.000+ visitors in 2019, is one of the biggest personal care events in the world.
  • Put into perspective, this year, the fair consisted of 4 completely full halls, in total, the size of 6 soccer fields. We could (and would) happily have spent an entire week there discovering all it had to offer.
  • Chinese companies are especially enthusiastic about now expanding to the Western
    market and are currently aiming to collaborate with Western companies.
  • “Made in Switzerland”, “Made in Germany”, “Made in France” are perceived as indicators for quality and popularity: it was heartening to see that both the larger and the smaller regional European booths at the PCHi were equally crowded.

2. There is a large industry-wide effort to make the chemistry behind products more transparent and to promote sustainability.

  • We noticed so many different certifications branded on
    booths: ISO9001, HACCP, HALAL, KOSHER, ECOERT, China-compliant, GMP… In short, if you’ve got it, flaunt it where certificates are concerned.
  • It was also interesting to see that smaller and more specific certificates such as “Demeter” build trust, guaranteeing quality and sustainability. Such certifications seemed in special demand for high-end products in particular.
  • Natural ingredients from smaller regional players offer very specific and niche products which in turn make them of high global interest. At PCHi, such products were mostly presented by the smaller country booths such as Bitop from Germany and Northstar Lipids from Great Britain.
  • In a nutshell, the “golden formula” for skin care today needs not only to be effective, but needs to be safe, naturally-derived and sustainable as well as simple, and affordable.

3. The personal care industry is becoming increasingly diverse and so new products and their marketing both focus on this.

  • Beauty standards should be inclusive and realistic with respect to modern life. In the personal care industry, this means that formulations suiting men, women, different skin colors and different ages should be available. The recent launches of make-up for male customers are just the beginning: the enthusiasm at PCHi was in part related to the diversification of the industry.
  • Hair in all colors, in all ages and in all textures is celebrated as beautiful, and there was a special focus on how brands can accompany customers through her/his personal hair life cycle (from young hair, to colored hair, to silver hair).
  • In conjunction with diversity, comes the new trend of personalizing personal care products: end consumers are looking for products that fit them much more closely.
  • DSM research showed that the most common age range for personal care ingredient buyers was 15-34. Interestingly, the value share of this group is almost equally split between female and male customers, thereby confirming the need to diversify the industry.

4. Urban stress is one of the largest concerns, and innovation in personal care products is focused on finding ways to counteract this.

  • Contemporary urban lifestyles regularly expose us to blue light, smoke, pollution, sun… etc. It becomes evident that stress on our skin occurs from everywhere. This problem certainly came up regularly throughout the fair.
  • To tackle urban stress, the first step that came across was the importance of protection against the sun, which was emphasized repeatedly. Skin care products containing SPF are thereby much more likely to spark interest.
  • For the other stress factors, such as blue light exposure and pollution, it became evident that customers were looking for organic products to address these stress factors and to provide fresh, youthful and healthy skin.

5. You are what you eat: increasing awareness about the effects of nutrition on the body highlighted the new, Beauty Food trend.

  • Aside from looking at externally applied products, customers are also looking for food supplements that help their body
  • Part of this initiative featured food for skin, meaning products that are packed with vitamins and probiotics. This was exemplified at PCHi through tasteful presentation of products such as smoothies for your skin (quite the eye candy).
  • On behalf of the whole Covalo team, congratulations to Sensient, who won the “Best booth design” award with their colorful lipsticks, lollipops, gourmet skin care texture and cocktails. We also take the opportunity to mentioned the Ingredion booth which gave us a starting taste of this fantastic new trend.
  • Finally, on the topic of visuals, we noticed a very strong approach centered around color. Moreover, bright colors were used to allow suppliers to tell the story of the ingredients making up their products. Some notable examples included charcoal black and Broccoli extract from Pioneer Herb.

All in all, China is the biggest and most dynamic market when it comes to Personal Care. Our experience at PCHi gave us some invaluable insights as well as motivation. Mark your calendars now; PCHi 2020 should be on your “to-go” list! Prepare for any upcoming trips to China by familiarizing yourself with the “WeChat” app. It is one of the most used apps in China, employed for private and business conversations, payments, e-commerce, marketing... etc. It is the first, and one of the most crucial steps to gaining visibility and business contacts on the Chinese market.

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