Beauty market

Can T-Beauty become a dominant force in global cosmetics?

In recent years, K-beauty and J-beauty have dominated the global market. But today, new entrants like Chinese C-beauty and, more recently, Taiwanese T-beauty have taken the internet by storm.

While Korea’s 10-step skincare routine may seem exhausting and time-consuming, Taiwan’s 4-step routine is more in line with the demands of modern professional women. Unsurprisingly, the West has also warmed to T-beauty brands, although common misconceptions about them remain largely unchallenged.

First, T-beauty is not the same as C-beauty. While both use natural ingredients and herbs found in traditional Chinese medicine, Taiwanese beauty brands also use local manufacturing processes and ingredients sourced from suppliers on the island.

Meanwhile, the low variety of T-beauty product assortments in the West is not due to retailers eliminating Taiwanese cosmetics for their poor performance. The reason is that they cannot access the products, because the Beautytap online discovery site highlights, stating, “T-beauty doesn’t have the massive, government-sponsored PR muscle of K-beauty.”

In China, however, some brands like the Taiwanese beauty company Chlitina are already making waves. According to Asian Design Cosmetics.

Second, Taiwan is by no means new to the beauty industry. In fact, the island has a long history of beauty treatments. More recently, Taiwan has made Japanese beauty brands like Shiseido and Kao, according to BNC News. And in 2004, she launched the global skincare phenomenon, my beauty diary.

Yet pandemic-related supply chain issues have only compounded the problem of product shortages. Some Western beauty e-tailers like Sephora already offered Taiwanese cosmetics brands, but the brand still has plenty of room for further global growth. While Sephora has a strong footprint in taiwanhis familiarity with local brands means he could easily promote them globally.

Similarly, other retailers could do the same. For example, if Ulta Beauty, an American beauty store chain, featured emerging Taiwanese brands on its website SPARK sectionit might help T-beauty become more desirable.

Independent labels are well known to attract younger audiences, and e-tailers could potentially unlock a multi-million dollar opportunity with Taiwanese brands. In 2017, Taiwanese cosmetics exports amounted to $730 million, according to data from Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs — and the growth rate of these exports continues to increase. Western e-tailers looking for emerging Asian brands should take note.

Besides cosmetics, Taiwan is also a powerhouse in beauty technologies and AI and AR-based solutions in the cosmetics industry. For example, Perfect Corp is a beauty AI and AR leader that offers unique shopping experiences, such as AI-powered virtual makeup, AI-powered virtual hair color, AI skin scans, AI foundation shade detectors and matches, and product recommendations by AI. Additionally, Perfect Corp ventured into the metaverse by launching a metaverse booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 in Las Vegas.

With Perfect Corp, beauty brands can create virtual SKUs and then enable the “try & shop” AR experience across all their channels. Photo: Perfect Corp.

Taiwanese beauty has a lot of potential in western and mainland China, especially when the beauty and wellness industry is booming. But big brands have to figure out the right path between communicating their own brand identity and respecting the cultural sensitivities and demands of Chinese and Western markets. Additionally, T-beauty brands seeking to enter new markets are expected to pursue investment more aggressively. Successful global marketing campaigns are expensive, so T-Brands could mitigate the risks of global expansion campaigns by partnering with the right investors.

Considering how venture capitalists have happily invested in skincare and beauty startups over the past few years, T-Brands could turn to venture capital investments to grow. According to Pitch book“227 beauty startups received support in 2021, and the median deal size was $2.75 million.”

Given how venture capitalists have willingly invested in skincare and beauty startups over the past few years, T-Brands could turn to venture capital investments to grow.

With the right push, Taiwanese beauty brands could redefine the beauty industry in the West, but they would succeed faster with timely investments.