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Tmall 6.18 Shopping Festival: Luxury Beauty Brands Marketing in China

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You might already be familiar with Double 11 in China, a limited-time cyber shopping festival started by Alibaba that happens around November 11 each year on Tmall and Taobao platforms, similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in some overseas markets. But have you heard about the 6.18 Shopping Festival ("6.18"), which just officially started last week on June 1? 


In fact, 6.18 (June 18) is the day marking the foundation of, the second-largest e-commerce platform in China after Alibaba, and the e-commerce marketing strategy to compete with Alibaba's Double 11. Alibaba soon took this idea for its version of 6.18 shopping festival. This year, the 6.18 presale started on May 25 on Tmall and Taobao. The full-scale shopping festival is subdivided into two sessions: the 6.1 festival (May 29 ~ June 3) and the official 6.18 festival (June 13 ~ June 20).


As we are right in the middle of the 6.18 shopping festival 2021, in a series of blog articles, we will explore how global premium brands and mass-market brands use innovative, eye-catching tactics to maximize their market exposure and revenue. You can subscribe to our newsletter now to get a notification for the next article focusing on mass brand strategies. 


SK-II China


As a 2020 Tokyo Olympics partner (now delayed to 2021), the P&G owned premium Japanese brand SK-II released the brand's first "VS" animation series globally with the hashtag #改写命运# (#ChangeDensity), celebrating female athletes' effort in overcoming obstacles and challenging themselves. On June 1, the first day of the 6.18 promotion, the brand launched the Pitera essence Olympics special edition, featuring bottle caps in five Olympic colours.  


SK II China Marketing


Shiseido China


Shiseido, on the other hand, focuses on limited time offerings. While giving out free samples is a common practice across brands, Shiseido announced on their Tmall official store limited time opportunities of receiving extra sample products by placing the order during designated time, prompting consumers to visit their store more often and driving up store traffic. Meanwhile, Shiseido also collaborated with Tmall and the video sharing website Bilibili, the Chinese version of YouTube, and launched a three-way crossover limited-edition gift box, featuring hair pins with the Bilibili television mascots and the Tmall mascot.


Shiseido China Tmall Strategy


L'Oréal China: Lancôme and Kiehl's


Speaking of collaboration, we cannot forget to mention Lancôme's blind box strategy. In the United States, a blind box or mysterious box might be a monthly subscription-based box full of unknown snacks, clothing or tea selections. However, blind boxes of unknown versions of figures are viral among Chinese consumers and you can find stores or vending machines selling those from department stores to convenience stores and vending machines in subway stations. For 6.18, the brand launched the Lancôme x Hello Kitty, featuring a blind box with one of the two Hello Kitty figures.


            Lancome China Marketing.                                                       Kiehl's China Marketing


Also owned by the same L'Oreal group, Kiehl's is using a similar tactic in China. Collaborating with the blind box market leader, Pop Mart, the beauty brand launched two limited-edition products (a masque and a gel cream) on June 1, featuring two Pop Mart Dimoo series figures: panda and the Earth as part of the brand's advocate for eco-friendliness and panda protection.


While live streaming shopping and offline interactive and immersive experience pop-up stores remain important tactics for gaining new customers and increasing market attentions in China, global premium brands have been creative with Tmall strategies and following local consumer preferences in finding new grounds in the world's largest consumer market. In the upcoming article, we will explore what special actions mass-market brands are take in this 6.18 shopping season.


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