International Women’s Day is an important holiday in China, accompanied by the same sorts of major sales promotions that US companies run on President’s Day or Labor Day. This year COVID-19 resulted in most promotions in February being put on hold, so Tmall’s promotion for International Women’s Day, which ran from February 25 to March 8, was the first test of the degree to which consumer sentiment had recovered.
At MeasureChina we also saw some interesting trends associated with this year's Women’s Day promotions, which we haven’t seen in the past:
- First off, the discounts and incentives were bigger than they were for the last major promotion, Single’s Day back on November 11.
- Second, offline stores, devoid of customers, were using their outlets for live streaming.
- Finally, we saw several COVID-19 related hashtag campaigns.
Popular brands started pre-orders for Women’s Day (March 8) as early as Feb. 25. Some brands, including L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, specifically promoted their discounts and incentives as being bigger than on Single’s Day, which traditionally sees the biggest discounts.
For Single’s Day, L’Oreal’s discounted its 30ml Revitalift Eye Cream, the company’s hero product, to 309 RMB. That is 10% off the normal price of 340 RMB. They also threw in two free 15ml samples. But for Women’s Day they promoted a 279 RMB price, an 18% discount, and included the same two sample sized products.
Estee Lauder does not discount its Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream – lovingly referred to as “brown bottle eye cream” in China. For Women’s Day they packaged this product with an additional sample that wasn’t offered on Singles’ Day.
Lancome, CHANDO, and HomeFacialPro matched their Single’s Day discounts for Women’s Day, another unprecedented move.
Chinese beauty magazine HZPB wrote that Women’s Day was “like Single’s Day during COVID-19”, predicting positive sales results.
Offline Store Become Streaming Studios
As COVID-19 sent the number of retail store visitors plummeting, cosmetics brands began transforming their beauty counters into live streaming studios. Estee Lauder’s department store employees used live streaming cameras to demonstrate the same how-tos they usually deliver in person. This reinforced the brand image of Estee Lauder being a department store quality brand, despite being sold online.
Figure1. Estee Lauder employee is marketing the brand's product through live streaming | Source : Baidu
At MeasureChina we expect this online streaming trend to continue, even after Coronavirus passes.
A number of brands also promoted slogans and hashtags to show that they stood in solidarity with those suffering during the current situation.
CHANDO began promoting the hashtag #ModerndayMulan (#当代花木兰), comparing the women working on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 to the legendary female warrior Hua Mulan from the Northern and Southern Dynasties era ( 南北朝). The accompanying video on Weibo has more than 14,000 likes and 100,000 shares.
International brands including Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and The History of Whoo also shared messages of support for those affected by Coronavirus. These included:
- #这一战我们能赢 (We will win this battle)
- #武汉加油 (Keep strong, Wuhan)
- #抗击新型肺炎我们在行动 (We are on the move to fight COVID-19)
- #以爱自生，让爱无距 (Love has no distance)
- #中国加油 (Keep, strong China)
(Note that two of the campaigns included the term 加油. While literally this translates to “add fuel”, colloquially it’s used to cheer people on. For reference, it’s what Chinese fans chant to support their national athletes and teams at sporting competitions.)
The History of Whoo became garnered significant attention when it released a video of employees in empty stores, cleaning up and sharing personal messages of hope for a return to normal life.
Video1. Women’s Day promotion of The history of whoo | Source : The history of whoo Weibo