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Cosmetics makers from China and abroad have spotted new marketing opportunities by partnering up with local online celebrities, as young Chinese consumers have increasingly turned to the internet for shopping advice.
Jason Lu is one of the new internet celebrities in China. Through the makeup tutorial videos he posted online, Lu has been able to reach out to hundreds of thousands of people across social media platforms in less than a year.
"I like putting makeup and watching makeup tutorials. I have been buying a lot of cosmetics and wanted to share my tips with others," said Lu.
Analysts say low-budget makeup tutorials are getting popular, because social media enables conversations between internet celebrities and young audience who love sharing shopping advice.
"Fifty percent of the young consumers will actually recommend the beauty brands they use to their friends and their families; and in U.S. this number is only 38," said Veronique Yang, partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group.
As hundreds of thousands of young people tune in every day to learn makeup skills from the likes of Lu, and to get advice of what products to purchase, that opens up a wide world of marketing opportunities for cosmetics brands.
One of such companies, L’Oreal, has just celebrated its 20th year in the Chinese market. Its China CEO said there has been a visible trend over the past two decades - customers are getting younger.
"The young consumers now are lot into makeup. This is probably one of the biggest beauty revolution in the world," said Stephane Rinderknech.
Analysts expect young Chinese to play a growing role in boosting consumption of cosmetics in China.
"We think that for the young generations, i.e. post 80s and 90s, will account for more than 65 percent of consumption growth from 2015 to 2020," said Yang.
Studies have shown that China’s younger generation spends on average three hours per day on their digital devices, which are set to be the new marketing battlefield.
As part of efforts to grab a head start in the new era of marketing, L’Oreal is partnering with internet celebrities, giving them new products to try out and recommend to their audience.
"It’s a revolution in a way that we bring content to them. It needs to be a content that is digital, that is live, and that is interactive. It needs to be totally customized for their needs, as these young consumers are very big activists and they feel very much individually for their own needs," said Rinderknech.
Lu received product promotion requests from cosmetic firms after only two months of making makeup videos.
"They actually want to promote their products among the young. That’s why they approach bloggers like us, because we are more relatable. We are opinion leaders in this field. They want someone who has some influence in the field, but doesn’t look as distant as big celebrities," said Lu.
According to another online celebrity Li Yilin, what is special about them is that they are able to dispel skepticisms, because viewers trust them on a more personal level.
She said she had never recommended products without testing them on herself.
"People have become much more accepting towards digital promotions, and more people are willing to buy these products. They don’t feel like you’re force-feeding advertisements to them. They are happy to get new product information from me, which makes me happy too. That’s a good thing for the whole business," said Li.
Analysts say companies are proactive in working with internet celebrities, because the bloggers can help them accomplish an important step in marketing - building trust between products and consumers.(news from CRIonline)