How Unilever Uses Data To Stay
Ahead of Fast-Moving Competitors in China

Co-headquartered in London and Rotterdam, roughly 2.5 billion people use Unilever’s products every single day.
Unilever has a portfolio of more than 400 brands globally, with China as its biggest e-commerce market.
Since 2017, Unilever has turned to MeasureChina for competitive analysis, marketing and brand strategy,
and up-to-date market data via both our MeasureCommerce Dashboard and trend reports.

"We have to use data in China"

Wayne Wang heads up the Chinese e-commerce team for skincare at Unilever. Faced with a lack of data and constant need for better precision marketing in China, Wayne has been using MeasureChina since 2017 for up-to-date data, marketing analysis, and brand strategy.
China is Unilever's biggest e-commerce market."Over 50% of our e-commerce sales come from China alone." - Diya Sawhney, London/Global E-Commerce & Digital Manager

Unilever’s greatest challenge in China

One of Unilever’s greatest challenges is to keep its brands ahead of competitors in China's quickly evolving e-commerce world. With more data, Wayne can get a clearer picture of what competitors are doing and how it's affecting sales. And thanks to trend analysis, Unilever can identify new product subcategories with an upward growth trend for more profitable launches.
"We have to use data because the competition in China — especially in e-commerce — is moving almost too fast, making it incredibly important for us to know what competitors are doing daily."

Introducing the Data

Unilever uses MeasureChina’s easy e-commerce dashboard (MeasureCommerce) and quarterly reports. "We can track actual data from Taobao and Tmall and see the real number of competitor sales. Before, we only had a sales index of competitors."
"Now, when we do a competitor analysis, we have actual data to work with." - Wayne Wang, China E-Commerce Skincare Manager
While Unilever's global team uses MeasureChina’s dashboard and reports in English, Wayne and his team operated bilingually in Chinese and English.

Launching Products Based on Real-World Trends

Wayne gives a real example of how the MeasureCommerce’s powerful dashboard categories have helped Unilever’s product launches be more profitable.
"The data gives you the confidence to say "let's do it." And that's really powerful."
"When we decided to launch a makeup remover product in China for a few brands, we wanted to know the potential of various products. So we went to MeasureChina to find the growth rate of different subcategories within makeup remover.

And, to give you an example, we found that makeup remover lotions or waters have a big market size, but a very low growth rate. But there was an interesting product-subcategory that had a small market size, but a year-on-year growth rate which is very rare. It was makeup remover wipes. So now we had a potential category for us to conquer and do a new product launch."

Social Review Tracking

Unilever uses the e-commerce dashboard to track Chinese social review posts using keywords for product brands and categories. The marketing and e-commerce departments in China check keywords daily to track the performance of Unilever's brands and products, as well as to develop new marketing strategies.
"Now we can understand public perception of our products while identifying our competitors’ weaknesses at the same time." says Wayne.
By using data trends to identify a brand's strengths and weaknesses, Unilever develops informed strategies from a marketing and brand perspective."The dashboard is key for our marketing and branding teams. With it, they can do competitive tracking and analysis in terms of price, sales, and marketing mechanisms."

Tracking Competitor’s Sales Data and Conversion Rates

Unilever tracks what competing brands are doing in China so that they can simulate and counter their strategies ahead of time.

Before using MeasureChina, Unilever tracked competitors' market size, average market penetration, and traffic. "But we didn't know what their sales performance was," explains Wayne. " We wanted to understand the gap between our products and our competitor's products". With MeasureChina’s data, Unilever now tracks and reports on actual conversions and sales from its competitors.
Wayne notes, "Now, we can track the actual sales rate and growth rate by subcategory in China. You have to know what could be the next booming category to stay ahead of competitors."

Quarterly Reports Give Inspiration and Inform Strategy

Unilever shares MeasureChina's quarterly reports with all its brands with a presence in China. "It gives our brands a load of guidance into what's working," Marcus, Global skincare category strategy executive. The reports are shared twice a year both in Wayne's department and globally.
"The reports are a great inspiration to see what we should do next." - Marcus, Global skincare category strategy executive

In Summary

"We find MeasureChina helps us out in lots of different ways,"says Wayne, "but mostly in terms of market analysis and structuring our brand strategy."
Unilever uses the MeasureCommerce Dashboard to:
- Better understand Unilever's own brand performance
- Search and analyze product reviews by keyword
- Do extensive competitor tracking including sales conversion rates
Unilever uses MeasureChina's Quarterly Reports to:
- See category performance trends
- Get product and brand strategy inspiration
- Predict the future direction of markets
"Our demand for e-commerce in China is absolutely growing. It's going to be more and more important."
- Diya Sawhney, London/Global E-Commerce & Digital Manager

Get E-Commerce Data in China with MeasureChina’s Dashboards and Reports

MeasureChina’s e-commerce dashboard and quarterly trend reports include e-commerce and social data, data analysis, trend forecasting, product category sales performance, and more.Click here to book a demo