How to Profitably Sell Beauty Products on Tmall Global

Misha Pabari

December 9, 2020

sell beauty products on tmall

In November, we ran a successful webinar on the topic of how to profitably sell beauty products on Tmall Global. Below, we share some of the highlights from that presentation, both for brands already trading on the platform, and those who would like to enter the China market using a cross-border model.

Accounting for 60% of total Chinese online sales in 2019, it is clear why Tmall’s reach appeals to international beauty brands who want to expand their sales in the market; and the cross-border site Tmall Global provides the easiest way to reach them. Selling cross-border means beauty brands don’t need a Chinese business entity, and also don’t need to test their products to Chinese standards.

Beauty brands performed well during Single’s Day 2020

This year Tmall’s annual Singles’ Day festival took a different format than usual. Rather than pushing a single sales peak on 11.11, the platform rolled out its promotions across 11 days from the 1st to the 11th November.

Beauty has long been a leading sales category during the festival and this year was no different. In fact, Alibaba announced that beauty products generated over RMB 10 billion (roughly US$1.5 billion) in GMV in the first 40 minutes of the early sales period. International brands including L’Oréal Paris, Estee Lauder and Lancôme were amongst the strongest performing in the beauty category, having effectively invested in marketing strategies to help drive traffic to their Tmall stores.

How Beauty brands are capitalising on China’s social platforms

Utilising the extensive on-platform marketing types Tmall offers, as well as off-platform marketing channels, is crucial to increase your brand awareness and profitably sell beauty products on Tmall Global.

Demand for products in the beauty category dropped in the initial wake of COVID-19, but savvy brands have repositioned and adapted their marketing to suit changing search trends on the marketplace.

Many skincare brands leveraged livestreaming and key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote “quarantine skincare routines”. Avène revised product images and titles on Tmall to highlight its products as solutions for skin issues caused by wearing masks.

Similarly, cosmetics brands started to rethink their merchandising strategies to fit Chinese consumers’ needs. Eye makeup became a sweet spot for such brands, thanks to the fact that it is still visible when worn with a mask.

Off-platform social media channels such as Weibo, Little Red Book and Douyin (Tiktok) have grown significantly in popularity for Chinese beauty customers, with hashtags relating to what makeup to wear with masks trending. In fact, social chatter surrounding these trends resulted in a 41% year-on-year increase in eyeshadow sales on Tmall during the first quarter of 2020.

Our Tmall Trading Guide explains more about the importance of driving Tmall traffic from off-platform channels to build customer awareness and new customer acquisition of your brand.

Understand the trading cadence in China to profitably sell beauty products on Tmall Global

To deliver profitable promotions that tempt existing and new customers, beauty brands must understand the trading cadence in China, and how it substantially differs from that of the West.

The marketplace hosts a number of important promotional trading periods throughout the year in the lead up to its Singles’ Day festival, which should be used to test promotions and establish credibility with customers and Tmall.

Key trading dates for beauty brands include International Women’s Day – known as Queen’s Day in China – where promotions are usually focused on gifting for women.’s 618 Festival has also been adopted by Tmall, and your sales performance during this June event helps Tmall decide whether to invite your brand to participate in its official 11.11 promotions. Therefore, planning ahead and building your trading momentum throughout the year is crucial to your brand’s success on Tmall.

Pattern’s Greater China team announced record-breaking results for its Tmall Trade Partner business during this year’s 11.11 Shopping Festival. Sales for the Tmall stores we trade grew by an average of 91% year-on-year across the 11 days of the promotional period. Both Pattern’s and Alibaba’s 11.11 trading results demonstrate the resilience of the Chinese economy through the pandemic, and continued demand for international brands by Chinese consumers.

Watch our on-demand webinar aimed at Western beauty brands who are already selling on Tmall Global, and those who are interested in using it as a new route to market here.

To talk to us about how we could help to profitably sell beauty products on Tmall Global contact us here.

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