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Cosmetics and toiletries to Hong Kong (Last updated: 17 Sep 2010)

Trends and opportunities
The market
In 2009, Hong Kong’s total imports of cosmetics and skincare products was valued at A$1.94 billion.

Hong Kong is often considered as an excellent testing ground for international products entering Asian markets, and it is therefore a burgeoning and competitive market for cosmetic and personal care products.

Australia has built sound reputation over the years for its high quality cosmetics, toiletries, and wellbeing products, and is also seen as a strong source for natural and organic skincare products.

With an increasing trend towards natural and eco-friendly products, ethical consumerism and growing health consciousness in the market, consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of chemicals, especially in skincare products, and are now increasingly attracted to the benefits of using natural and/or organic ranges.

Mainland Chinese tourists have emerged as one of the major consumer groups in Hong Kong. Attracted by the zero retail tax rate, mainland Chinese consumers view Hong Kong’s prices as comparatively lower than on the mainland and they have stronger confidence in the authenticity and quality of products in Hong Kong. In 2009, 17.96 million mainland Chinese visitors represented the highest spenders among all visitors to Hong Kong contributing 70 per cent of total visitor spending. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, approximately 80 per cent of the mainland Chinese tourists who visited Hong Kong went shopping with cosmetic and skincare products amongst their top three shopping purchases. As such, Hong Kong plays an important role in showcasing cosmetics and skincare products to such a large visitor/consumer base. Hong Kong is an ideal trial market to springboard into mainland China and other Asian markets,

Japan and the USA. in recent times newer brands from Japan and Korea and niche brands built on the basis of ‘natural’ or plant-based ingredients are becoming more popular. On the lower end. There is strong competition in the cosmetics and skincare market in terms of: • • • • Brand awareness Quality (in terms of ingredients. for example.770 (overnight stay) Hong Kong being a gateway to the potential market offered by the Greater China market The cosmetics and skincare market in Hong Kong is still dominated by international and premium brands from France. use of Australian native plants Natural skincare products with plant-based ingredients Certified organic or 100 per cent natural baby skincare and toiletry products Complete lines of skin whitening and sun protection products (summer products occupy shelves for approximately nine months) Anti-ageing/nourishing products Certified organic or 100 per cent natural skincare for teenagers . imports from China dominate.due to: • • • • • • • • • • Its high consumption power and willingness to try new products Similar weather conditions and consumer preferences with other Asian markets Low entry barriers Zero tariff No mandatory local labelling. Opportunities Products that are in strong demand in Hong Kong include: • • • • • • • Certified organic skincare and personal care products 100 per cent natural skincare products with strong/unique selling points. but highly recommended English is widely used in business Manageable market size Flat distribution structure Huge visitor numbers: 29.6 million in 2008 – the average visitor spending per capita is HK$5. However. packaging. however in comparison to similar products or major brand names from other countries. design and functionality) Packaging Price competitiveness Australian skincare products are perceived to be of premium quality. and limited SKU are often considered weak points. pricing.

Importers and retailers in Hong Kong will often seek exclusivity to secure brand/product uniqueness and avoid price competition. functionality and price. and Switzerland for the higher end market. given the relatively small market size. but most importantly to the brand building activities and sustainable development of the brand in the market. In many cases. such as Sa Sa. In some cases. USA. The most effective way to enter the market is to work with local distributors or agents. although not mandatory. almost all of Hong Kong’s beauty product needs are met by imports. bypassing the need for intermediaries. or English-Chinese (bilingual). which means fierce competition in terms of quality. principally from France. With virtually no local manufacturing. is highly recommended to be printed on the products and/or outer box. back to top Tariffs. Japan. Labelling can be in English. . Expiry date. retailers. may also play the role as importers to import products directly from suppliers. innovation. and China for lower end products. Registration and local labelling are not required on general cosmetic or cosmeceutical products. who normally contribute not only to the sales. back to top Marketing your products and services Market entry The image of Australia’s ‘clean and green’ production environment helps the promotion of Australian cosmetics and toiletries product exports to Hong Kong.• • • • Natural colour cosmetics (mineral make up) Dermatologist-developed skincare ranges Complete line of professional skin treatments and salon products Spa – relaxation and self-pampering products Competitive environment Ranked as the world’s freest economy. regulations and customs There are no tariffs in Hong Kong on imported cosmetics and toiletries. Hong Kong is a duty free port with few barriers to trade in goods and services. it is acceptable to leave the original English label unchanged. unless there are medical or therapeutic claims on the products. The market is therefore extremely competitive.

Pricing structure The pricing structure for exports to the Hong Kong market is different from the wholesale pricing structure in Australia due to high overhead costs and margins required at each level (importer. These sites feature reviews for beauty products and the latest trends within the industry. In Hong Kong. Australian natural and organic skincare products are often discussed in these fora. distributor and retailer). These forums are increasingly used by companies as platforms for marketing campaigns. the retail price would usually be . June 2010) media tools including blogs. Elle and She Critiques. and a means for referral of brands. Newspapers: • • • • • South China Morning Post – the largest English newspaper in Hong Kong Apple Daily Ming Pao AM730 (free morning newspaper) Metro (free newspaper distributed through all MTR stations every morning) Weekly and monthly magazines for cosmetics and skincare: • • • • • • • • • • Oriental Sunday More Sudden Weekly (me magazine) East Weekly Next Magazine Elle Marie Claire Cosmopolitan Harper’s Bazaar Vogue Milk Internet forums According to Euromonitor International (Beauty and Personal Care – Hong Kong.Brand building and PR Hong Kong is a highly media influenced market. popular beauty websites include Beauty Exchange. Cosmetics and skincare product reviews often occupy many pages in various newspaper and magazines. beauty forums and Facebook. continue to rank highly in terms of influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions. a forum for consumers to share product reviews. To cover overheads and retail margins for skincare products. blogs by skincare experts. make-up artists and/or celebrities to share their beauty experience and tips.

Austrade has coordinated the Australian presence at Cosmoprof Asia for over 10 years. Personal care chain stores (combined with pharmacies) – over 400 stores mainly for middle and mass market products. L'Occitane. Trade event Cosmoprof Asia is recognised as the premier tradeshow for the cosmetics and toiletries sectors in Asia. the retail price in Hong Kong may be doubled the Australian retail price. For more information. In cases where importers pay the equivalent of the Australian ‘wholesale’ price for the goods.. Beauty specialty shops – for all price ranges. A typical distribution channel to consumers would involve importers. given the limited size of Hong Kong in terms of both population and geography. please contact cosmoprofasia@austrade. We suggest suppliers take the above structure into consideration when shaping the pricing strategy for the Hong Kong export market.four to six times the FOB price. but are progressively seeking new product lines to reduce their parallel imports. these chains typically demand high listing fees and 35~50 per cent retail margin. tendency towards private labels. These stores are still selling parallelimported brand name products. However. However. importers in Hong Kong may also play the role of wholesaler/distributor. bypassing the need for intermediaries. A true trendsetting event for the industry and a must-see exhibition in all Asian buyers’ calendar. Supermarket chains – low-end/mass products. back to top . and over 40 Australian companies participated in the Australian National Pavilion. Retailers may also import products directly from suppliers. Cosmoprof Asia represents an ideal platform for Australian beauty suppliers who are targeting Asian markets to meet key buyers from many countries in a very intensive three-day exhibition. distributors and finally retailers. L’Oreal. Jurlique. Brand and concept shops offering experiential aspects to at Austrade Hong Kong. Distribution channels The major retail distribution channels for cosmetics and toiletries products in Hong Kong include: • • • • • Department stores normally stocks high-end and branded products. and in most cases the price would therefore become uncompetitive in this market. Aesop.