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This Australian e-commerce site is tapping into the $100 billion Chinese beauty market


Adore Beauty, a leading Aussie online shopping destination for beauty products and cosmetics, recently its expansion into China via Tmall Global (tmall.hk). The expansion is an important step in the company’s growth to become the dominant online beauty destination across the Asia Pacific region.

The Chinese cosmetic market is the largest in the world and has the potential to become a US$113.9 billion industry by 2017. Adore Beauty’s TMall store will cater to China’s growing demand for ethical and natural beauty products that haven’t been tested on animals. The online store will stock popular Australian brands that are currently not available in China, including evo, Lanolips, asap, Alpha‐H, Skinstitut and ELEVEN – most of which are exclusive on Tmall to Adore Beauty.

“Chinese shoppers are very discerning and favour high quality, environmentally friendly beauty products which is why Australian brands are very popular but until now, have largely been unavailable in this market. We see a huge opportunity to launch these brands in China via Adore Beauty’s TMall store”, says CEO and Founder Kate Morris.

The National Online Retailers Association for Australia has seen an increase in businesses expanding into the lucrative Asian market, by offering quality Australian products.

“Australian retailers are capitalising on the rising middle classes with disposable incomes who are shopping online. There’s the potential for savvy businesses to sell to billions and Tmall is the platform of choice for aspirational Asian consumers who are prepared to pay a premium for western quality products. Adore Beauty is sure to be a roaring success as it meets demand and flies the flag for Australia’s ethical beauty brands in Asia”, says Paul Greenberg, the CEO and Founder of the National Online Retailers Association (NORA).

Going from strength to strength

Kate started Australia’s first beauty e-commerce site in 1999 from a garage in Melbourne at the age of 21. Starting with just $12,000 and two little known cosmetic companies on board, Adore Beauty has grown to more than 150 authorised brands and 10,000 products – all offered with free shipping – and attracts millions of visitors.

Kate Morris
Kate Morris

Growing up in Launceston, Tasmania, Kate was frustrated at not being able to access the brands available in big cities. A university job on the cosmetic counters led Kate to realise that most women found the department store experience intimidating and unpleasant. Kate was inspired to create a consumer-empowering beauty shopping experience that would solve both problems.

After 15 years in business, Adore Beauty recently announced an investment from retail giant Woolworths Limited. Kate was awarded the Business Innovation Award for Victoria at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2014, and was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Network Hall of Fame in 2015.

Celebrating its 16th year in business, Adore Beauty’s international expansion comes off the back of a strong FY2015, which included Woolworth taking a 25 per cent stake in the business back in May 2015.

“Momentum is strong and we are ready to take Adore Beauty to the next level and realise our vision to become the number one online premium beauty retailer, not just in Australia but in the region,” says Kate.

“We pride ourselves on being a customer-centric retailer that truly understands the premium beauty consumer. We grew our product range from 6,000 to 10,000 products in the last 12 months, including signing up industry favourites Estée Lauder and Ella Bache, and increased revenue by 70 per cent. We are looking forward to working with TMall to further build our business across APAC.”