AUSTRALIAN skincare brand Bondi Goddess is owned by Australians and produced Down Under, but its products are not available for regular Aussies to purchase.
“Daigou is a term meaning buying on behalf of and it refers to Chinese Australians who live here, who are buying products on behalf of people they know and trust in China,” DaigouSales.com founder Dr Matthew McDougall told news.com.au.
“The reason that Daigou exist is there is a massive fear and concern around health products in China that might be fake or cause bodily harm,” Dr McDougall said.
There is a huge demand in China for Australian health and beauty products, including baby formula, skincare products, cosmetics and supplements and vitamins.
The co-founders of Bondi Goddess, husband and wife team Erinjayne and Alan Plummer, have capitalised on China’s ferocious appetite for all things Australian by creating a skincare range specifically marketed towards young Chinese women.
“We wanted to bottle the freshness of Australia and put that feeling you get when you first step out of the ocean into our products,” Mrs Plummer told news.com.au.
“We found there was a huge gap in the market in that 18-28 age group and we thought it would be fantastic to launch products in China,” she said.
The four products — a cleanser ($39.88), an anti-pollution serum ($59.88), a collagen serum ($69.88) and a whitening serum ($69.88) — were created off the back of market research into the unique skincare concerns of Chinese women.
They live in a country with extremely high pollution and a beauty culture that values plump skin.
The products are also priced with consideration of how significant certain numbers are in Chinese culture, with each being rounded to 88 cents.
Real estate agents know that houses or apartments with the number eight are coveted by Chinese buyers. The number eight has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture, while the numbers four, 13 and 14 are considered unlucky.
The price range is also in line with the lower budgets of young women, who may not be able to afford high-end skincare.
“We tried to bring the price down because we wanted it to be affordable,” Mrs Plummer said.
While opening up sales through traditional channels in Australia is a long-term goal for Bondi Goddess, for now only Chinese women will be able to purchase their products.
There are currently 400 Australian brands using DaigouSales.com to sell directly to China. Some are smaller, emerging brands like Bondi Goddess and others are bigger companies such as Unilever, Blackmores and Swisse. Dr McDougall claims the site has around 4000 daigou members.
“We’re an incubator for emerging brands. We have at least 10 merchants a week wanting to get into the marketplace,” he said.
“For established brands, the brand might have product in Australia but not in China yet. If they have aspirations of launching in China, this is a low-risk, low-cost approach. They are recognising daigou as a legitimate channel to test products prior to officially doing a massive, expensive launch in mainland China. We even have Unilever selling Continental Soup on our site. They’re just testing it out.”
For Blackmores and Swisse, daigou are a crucial part of the business.
“Blackmores and Swisse sell more product through daigou than through the traditional retail chains. Eighty per cent of their supplement business is sold outside of Australia.”
The rise of daigou in Australia has angered many local consumers, who have been unable to purchase their favourite products from their local supermarkets. Daigou have repeatedly made headlines for clearing our local supplies of baby formula and causing shortages.
Dr McDougall believes his website aims to help this problem.
“We’ve made it so wholesalers can sell to daigou directly.
“We want daigou to source products outside of retail stores,” he said.
“We don’t want them going through Coles or Woolies and buying all the product. So punters can get formula when they want and not have daigou using it as their primary source. If I can help the Australian consumer get access to product whenever they want, then that’s great.”
By Rebecca Sullivan
News Corporation Network