Colorlab by Watsons opens in Mainland China with plans to roll out 50 stores this year
A.S. Watson, the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, has teamed up with L’Oréal to launch Colorlab by Watsons, a new concept makeup store in Mainland China.

The striking black interior signals the modern vibe of the store. These new stores offer customers a fashionable and trendy experience-led makeup space, with access to on-hand makeup artists who can offer advice and expertise, as well as the opportunity to try out different looks and play around with colour cosmetics.

One of the most eye-catching areas in these stores is the makeup counter of L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline, two of the most popular makeup brands under L’Oréal. The number of their products displayed in store occupies over 30% and such arrangement is exclusive to Colorlab only.

In addition to L’Oréal, the stores also include Watsons own makeup brands Makeup Miracle and Collagen, as well as brands new to Watsons stores including Japanese makeup brand Kiss Me and Korean makeup brand CLIO.

With the rise of online shopping and changing shopping behaviours of younger customers, the focus on innovative physical spaces and refreshing the shopping experience will help attract younger generations. Vibrantly decorated to attract the fashionistas and beauty-goers, the first Colorlab store launched in Shenzhen, China in January 2018 and following its success three further stores have opened, two in Guangzhou and one in Shanghai. These new experience-based makeup stores are already proving popular, with annual sales of cosmetics up 74% since opening*, and plans are in place to roll out a further 50 stores across Mainland China by the end of this year.

As recent data from Mintel1 shows that the growth rate of the cosmetics market in Mainland China exceeds the overall market for beauty care and estimates that between 2017-2022, the market will grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 10.2% and achieve RMB (Chinese Yuan) 49,662 million by 20222. This insight coupled with A.S. Watson’s customer insights and market intelligence allowed the retailer to identify a need to develop Watsons makeup offering.

The opportunity was shared with L’Oréal who advised on the best way to attract a larger customer base and target a younger demographic who want access to knowledge, expertise and a wider product range, and together they founded Colorlab by Watsons.

Wang Mei-fen, a customer of Colorlab in Shenzhen, China, thinks: “The shopping environment of Colorlab by Watsons is stylish and fashionable. There are many international-renowned makeup brands. It’s not only a shopping paradise but also a place for beauty enthusiasts to discover, experience and play.”

Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer at A.S. Watson Group, says, “Makeup was identified as a huge growth area for Watsons and working with L’Oréal on the development of this new store concept meant that we had the expertise of an established makeup supplier at the forefront. Colorlab stores put the customers experience first and rather than just purchasing makeup, we wanted to give customers access to advice and expertise from skilled makeup artists, as well as the opportunity to try out different looks and play about with new products.”

Samuel du RETAIL, L’Oréal China Vice President, Consumer Products Division General Manager, comments: “Watsons has the reputation as the best health & beauty brand in Asia and we are excited to be working in partnership to launch Colorlab, a concept we are sure will be seen as one of the best stores for beauty. These new stores offer customers more than just a wide range of makeup products, they offer a makeup experience with access to instore makeup artists for consultations as well as a wide range of collateral on makeup trends and new looks to inspire them.”