Nearly a decade ago Korea’s 10-step skincare routine began to
complicate change how women in Asia and the West tended to their skin. Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction and we can’t help but find articles about Scandinavian low-maintenance skincare and minimalist skincare.
Rather than give this “no-nonsense” trend a fancy name, women in China are taking a blunt approach. To them, this is skincare for 懒人 – lǎn rén – lazy people.
This term isn’t relegated to casual workplace conversations. Take a look at Taobao and Tmall, China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, and you’ll see products described as “well suited for lazy people” or “lazy-people-friendly”. And where it doesn’t appear in product descriptions, Chinese shoppers helpfully make note of what products are lǎn rén approved in reviews and comments.
What Lazy People Want
According to data we’ve gathered using our MeasureInfluence dashboard, the use of the keyword lǎn rén is rising every month, reflecting a growing interest in easy-to-use products.
Here are the keywords most commonly used alongside lǎn rén on Chinese e-commerce platforms. Notice the close association with the bare face trend, as well as specific indications such as moisturizing.
Table1. Keywords used along with ‘懒人(lazy people)’
The Lazy Market is Full of Vigor
According to our MeasureCommerce dashboard, total sales of products described as being for lazy people surpassed CNY 19 billion ($2.7 billion) in 2019.
Of the products sold, 56% were in the skincare category and 33% were color cosmetics.
We’ve assembled a list of the companies with the highest revenues for products for lazy people. Interestingly, Chinese companies are far ahead of their foreign competitors in adopting use of this keyword. All 10 of the top companies are Chinese brands.
Table2. 10 brands most related to the keyword ‘lazy people’
Looking at product rankings is equally interesting. Most products in the skincare category are tone-up cream, which promises to instantly brighten the skin. Beyond skincare, products mostly focus on eye makeup.
The table below shows the performance of Top 10 products in the first half of 2019.
Table3. 10 products most related to the keyword ‘lazy people’
The only foreign brands using the term lǎn rén effectively are Japanese. Shu Uemura and Opera are performing especially well and other Japanese brands have adopted the term as well.
Selling to Lazy People
There are some common points across the spectrum of products for lazy people. For example, they tend to promise moisturizing and brightening (or whitening), two outcomes that are important to a clear and bright complexion. This is a reaction against the idea that makeup has to be heavy in order to be effective.
Younger people are lazier than older generations… at least when it comes to seeking out lazy products. Products for lǎn rén are especially popular among women who are still studying or have just started their careers. Product reviewers often use phrases like “this is right for students like me”, “easy to use on busy mornings”, and “reduces time spent on makeup”.
Easy of application is important, but so is the ease of removal. Lazy products are easy to take off and don’t require complicated cleansing routines or separate makeup removers. Washing your face with a normal cleanser is enough.
What other trends are shaping the Chinese cosmetics market this year? We first covered the “Lazy People” phenomenon in Chinese cosmetics in November of last year, along four other big trends in Chinese cosmetics for 2020.