THE CHINESE FURNITURE MARKET : A MARKET WITH A HIGH POTENTIAL
Today, the furniture market in China is considered the world’s largest exporter and manufacturer of furniture products. In 2016, the turnover was more than 35 billion dollars and the market is expected to increase more and more for the next 5 years. China Furniture Market is highly competitive with more than 60 000 brands.
But, China is changing and now, China is not only an exporter and producer but more and more a consumer market. The increase of the wealth and the opening of the country to western countries change everything. Consumers are now really attentive to their interior, decoration, and furniture in China. Chinese consumers like to buy online and be delivered and of course, they like foreign brands.
SEGMENTATION OF THE FURNITURE MARKET
Because brands are so numerous on the furniture market in China, supply is very diversified. Products can be divided into 2 different parts :
- Residential furnitures wich include furnitures of house like table and chairs, bed, sofa… It’s mainly for a B2C target.
- Non Residential Furnitures wich are more for a B2B target like offices, restaurants, hospitals, hostel and more others.
THE CHINESE CONSUMER
If you have to understand one thing in China, is that the concept of face is really important. Everything is about how you look, how you are for others. And because the « face » influences their life, it also influences their consumption behaviors.
Their housing is an image of them, that’s why they will do everything they can to have the best interior.
International furniture brands are very popular in China because they are reputed to be better in quality and Chinese consumers are very concerned about the quality because the Chinese market is crowded with counterfeits.
The Chinese consumer is very particular. Whatever the amount of his purchase, he will always try to find information about the brand to be sure of the quality and the reliability of his purchase.
However, the new consumer generations are very different and want new aesthetics. The Chinese style is a bit dead, and they prefer a new and modern western style. And also, buy inter-nation products to show your wealth.
THREE MAIN GROUPS OF TARGETS
“The Avid Consumers”:
- A rich group of consumers with high incomes
- No concern for prices
- Interest in Western Style, Classical Chinese style or avant-garde furniture.
- High interest in brands
- Furniture which can reflect their taste and style
- Seek for trends in markets, aesthetics, lifestyle.
- Represents the largest categories of consumers
- Search for best quality / price
- Purchase of proximity
CONSUMPTION TRENDS OF THE CHINESE FURNITURE MARKET
Kids furniture market
- Kids are like little emperors in China, therefore parents will buy everything to make them happy.
- Increase of family income: The desire of parents to improve the living conditions of their children. 72% of Chinese parents purchase furniture for their kids.
- Chinese consumers are more and more concerned about environmental products. They understand that their country is very polluted, and they want to change that. That’s why they are very sensitive for environmentally friendly products. They are ready to invest and pay a higher price for this category of furniture.
- The eco-friendly products are supported by the Chinese government, which has a strong interest in the country’s environmental issues.
Soft Decoration: the New Style
- Characterized by the decorative attributes that can be found in homes (curtains, lighting, ornaments, frames and paintings).
- This favors the development of furniture and personalized services.
- Target group of consumers seeking refinement, change and distinction.
- Home made and DIY furniture are becoming more popular among Chinese consumers.
Offices and Hotels also want Western Furnitures
- Western style aesthetic with spacious and open areas.
- A willingness to offer comfortable working place by purchasing premium furniture.
- The need to change for hotels their furniture and decorations every five years (demand of furniture replacement is about 13 billion RMB in 2017).
HOW TO SUCCEED ON THE CHINESE FURNITURE MARKET?
FIRST STEP : UNDERSTAND HOW THE DISTRIBUTION WORKS IN CHINA
Usually, when Chinese consumers buy furniture, they go to furniture shops or supermarkets.
For the imported products, they are mainly sold in specialized shops or premium shopping malls.
However, e-commerce is becoming the go-to option for most consumers. It is convenient and easy notably because of Tencent and Alibaba’s ecosystem that allows consumers to navigate smoothly via their e-commerce app and e-wallet.
Actually, e-commerce in China is the only channel that continues to grow and offers many opportunities for foreign brands.
The key: be creative, you have to create a universe where the consumer can project himself.
In China, everything goes quickly, you need to be very fast to be the first one.
You also have M-commerce (mobile-phone commerce), really popular in the furniture market. M-commerce creates new opportunities for consumers. It’s the perfect balance between distribution supply online and offline. Chinese consumers know how to do a lot of research online before buying something. The online part allows them to find information.
The online Chinese furniture market will be a vector of stimulation in the close future. Notably, because the number of online shoppers in China contributes to this increase.
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR FURNITURE BRAND IN CHINA?
You have a lot of different ways to increase the visibility of your furniture brand in China, but I will give you the main key to developing your brand image and awareness in order to target Chinese consumers and increase your sales.
SEO ON CHINESE SEARCH ENGINES
In China, the number one search engine is not Google but Baidu with more than 80% of the market share. Baidu is THE search engine you need to include in your SEO strategy if you want to succeed in the Chinese market.
SEO on Baidu is crucial to building a long-term strategy. 75% of the research is done on Baidu. You have to be visible on Baidu.
How can you do that?
- Keywords: They have to have a good research volume and be precise, the reason being Baidu keyword algorithm is very sophisticated. Another must is to use mandarin. Your target audience will use Chinese mandarin and Baidu is not good with other language, it will always prioritize Chinese mandarin language.
- In addition, your website need to be hosted in china : « .cn » if you want to be ranked on Baidu.
- Your website have to be Mobile Friendly because Chinese users are very connected and surf a lot on their smartphones. This has become a ranking criterion for all search engines in China.
- Think about third party website. Ranking your website is not enough. Netizens should be able to find you in every Baidu results related with the furniture market in China. We call this strategy “Undercover SEO“
CROSS-BORDER E-COMMERCE FOR FOREIGN BRANDS
If you are new to China, the best way to sell your products is to use a cross-border e-commerce platform… at least to start. These platforms are dedicated to foreign brands. That’s why, when Chinese consumers are looking for international products, they consult this kind of platform.
The main benefit for you is that you don’t need anymore to have an intermediary to sell your products. You can do it directly by yourself, which ends the worries of finding and working with a Chinese distributor.
E-REPUTATION: A PURCHASE CRITERIA IN CHINA
In China, if you don’t invest in an e-reputation strategy, it will be extremely hard to succeed.
Reputation is everything in China. Many brands never make any sales because they didn’t have enough awareness in China, in other words, Chinese consumers never heard of them before. Due to all the scandals, Chinese consumers need to be reassured. They no longer trust brands that don’t have a good awareness on the internet.
In addition, Chinese consumers are strongly receptive to recommendations from their peers.
Being present online, on social media, forums, publishing content, and encouraging consumers to make positive comments about your brand will help you to develop your awareness and improve your brand image.
BE ON CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
Make sure you have an Official Account on Chinese Social media. The two most popular social media platforms are WeChat and Weibo. However, new social media are emerging all the time and should not be ignored such as Red (little red book), Douyin (Chinese Tiktok), or Toutiao to mentioned just a few.
Wechat is the most popular social media with 1 billion users in 2019. It’s the perfect place to communicate with your consumers and publish content. Use WeChat as a CRM, a newsletter tool, or even as an e-commerce platform.
Make sure to have interesting and original content that can be shared and make people want to follow you. Read content will now appear in the Wow section of the discovery option of Wechat, meaning users’ friends can now see what their contact has been seeing.
Weibo is the second most used Chinese Social Media. It’s a microblogging platform where consumers consult brands’ profile for offers and follows KOLs on many topics. The debate often sparks on Weibo making it a perfect tool for buzz marketing. It’s also really convenient to communicate with your consumers and potential consumers via Weibo.
You only have to create your Weibo Official Account which allows you to develop a strong and smart communication strategy to target a lot of consumers.
KOL – KEY OPINION LEADERS
KOLs are really powerful in China. They are simply users who drive traffic on their pages with good and interesting content. Chinese consumers love following KOLs on social media, and they listen to their advice.
You can employ a KOL in your communication effort. This influencer will be the image of your brand. You not only buy their follower base but also their credibility.
It’s an effective way to develop your awareness and brand image in China because Chinese consumers trust more KOLs than brands.
Our focus is to promote your business with your target closely in mind. By now, you should be aware that the key to selling online is to have a good image and to be reputable. We use digital tools including Baidu SEO and SEM, E-PR, Media Buying (DSP) & Community Management. Then, we’ll manage the campaign and assure its optimization & success.
We are experienced on Baidu:
- High knowledge of the Baidu’s functions and ecosystem.
- A ROI-focused agency.
- We are effective.
- We worked with more than 700 western brands.
LEADS GENERATION PROFESSIONALS
We are professionals in lead generation. To be effective in your lead generation, you first need to develop a good e-reputation. Investing in online advertising and creating quality content will help you to develop your e-reputation. Finally, measure results to improve your performance.
Lead generation is our oldest solution, and we actually use it for our agency itself. We get an average of 350 leads per month (March 2018) by applying the method we offer to companies that use our services.
EXPERTS IN DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
- Website Creation, Development & Auditing.
- Baidu Search Engine Optimization.
- Social Media Marketing (Wechat & Weibo).
- Reputation Management & Community Development.
- Public Relations & Exposure in Chinese E-Media.
- Analytics, monthly reports & analysis from our team of experts.
An ROI-FOCUSED AGENCY
We are an ROI-focused agency. The solution is to attract and re-target the most qualified traffic in order to increase your conversion rate.
We are French, Russian, British, Chinese… In other words, International teams are here to help you with developing your business in China.
We understand the Chinese professionals: their needs and habits.
We also understand the foreign brands’ difficulties when they tried to enter the Chinese market.
Each member of our team is specialized in a field. They are experienced and they are effective.
AND IN BONUS
We are friendly, come over to our office and share a coffee with our china marketing expert while discussing your project.
OUR EXPERIENCE, CASE STUDY
Ethnicraft produces simple, authentic, and functional furniture with contemporary design and respect for the environment and society.
- Leads Generation.
- Keywords referenced on Baidu.
- Management of e-reputation.
- Press Relations and E-Reputation.
- 12+ Leads per month.
- Keywords «Hight-end tourism» referenced in the top 1.
- High visibility online.
GET IN TOUCH
The furniture market in China is a huge and developing market. Chinese consumers have become consumers that must be taken into account. Their purchasing power is continuously growing and does not seem to show any signs of weakness.
There are opportunities and many companies have made a lot of money. However, about 50% of them have failed and you have to be aware of that.
Working with specialists in the Chinese market is the key to success.