A new report by Peter Schmidt Group points out the cultural differences that cosmetic brands must respect in international markets

When buying cosmetic products, Japanese consumers are looking for calmness and satisfaction above all. In China, consumers prioritize the elegant appearance of products. And in Germany, consumers primarily want to be sure the product they are purchasing is of the highest quality. These and many other findings are contained in a report recently released by the brand and design agency Peter Schmidt Group.

Brands cannot be successful worldwide unless they appeal to their customers' emotions and respect local, cultural differences. But how can brands adapt to these needs while remaining uniquely unmistakable? Our Beauty Study report helps them achieve this goal – on the one hand, by revealing consumer wishes and communication channels, but also by recommending which visual codes are most effective in each respective cosmetics market.

In China, for example, consumers associate beauty products with perfection and self-respect. Nearly half (46.8%) said their personal grooming rituals play a major role in their choice of products. Consumers in Japan, on the other hand, are more likely to associate beauty care with relaxation and satisfaction. Just over half (55.6%) said the innovative character of the brand is crucial. Consumers in Germany attach particularly high importance to sustainability. About half of the survey's respondents said transparency of production processes is very important to them. They associate the concept of beauty care chiefly with self-confidence. 

Beauty products should impart a sense of harmony and trust, and should never be dark or cold

The report reveals more than what consumers want and expect from beauty care products. The survey also asked about the communication channels customers use to inform themselves about beauty care, as well as the visual codes they respond to. Particularly in Asia there is a discernible trend toward online channels, but purchase decisions are still made primarily at the point of sale. Survey respondents did agree on one thing: The world of beauty care is never dark or cold. Customers prefer bright, warm colors that impart a sense of harmony and balance.

The study surveyed 750 female consumers of beauty care products in China, Germany and Japan. They responded to both implicit and explicit questions about their buying habits and decision-making criteria as well as brand touchpoints and communication channels. The data was collected and analyzed in late 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

An English-language summary of the findings can be requested here.

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