Sales of cleansing facial masks in China soar due to popularity of anti-pollution products

32% of urban Chinese consumers are concerned about the damage pollution is having on their skin, causing the sales of cleansing facial masks to soar.

According to research by market analyst Mintel, 40% of Chinese women have used a face mask with a cleaning function in 2018 to battle environmental aggressors, compared to 36% in 2017.

These pollution-fighting masks are most popular among younger females, with more than half (54%) aged 20–24 stating they use them, compared to just a third (34%) of those aged 40–49, the report found.

The number of masks that launched with a cleaning claim occupied 15% of new product launches in 2017, up from 13% in 2016, the analyst found.

The facial mask market in China has grown with a value compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% between 2012 to 2017, reaching RMB 21,055 million last year. This compares to the 11.9% growth seen in the total facial skincare market over the same period.

“Many consumers consider pollution as a main reason for skin damage, indicating that they are realising the importance of anti-pollution products. However, while we’ve seen some pioneering brands, mostly from overseas, educate consumers about the harmful effects of air pollution to the skin, and innovating with anti-pollution facial masks, local brands in China have yet to utilise the anti-pollution claim,” said Vicky Zhou, beauty research analyst at Mintel.  

“Meanwhile, facial masks with a cleaning function are more desired by Chinese consumers and brands. Thus, there’s an opportunity for brands to differentiate the anti-pollution function and invest in ingredients to raise consumers’ awareness about anti-pollution products.”

According to research from Early Data, Mintel’s join venture partner for specialising in e-commerce business intelligence, the most popular online purchasing channel for facial masks in China is Tmall, which contributes nearly 40% of total online value sales.