A few decades ago, chocolate was seen as a luxury product. It was very common to find a person who has never eaten chocolate in his or her life before. However, during the last few years, this market exploded. According to the research firm, by 2020 the market of chocolate in China is expected to reach in value to 40 billion yuan which corresponds to 6.2 US$. On average a Chinese person eats less than 1 kilogram approximately per year which is very low compared to more than 10 kilos in Europe. But this is still interesting considering the number of inhabitants which is estimated at 1.3 billion people. In addition, because people are traveling more frequently they discover and try new products including chocolate. Once, they go back home, they want the same quality of chocolate in China as in western countries.
Chocolate as Luxury Gifts
The High-end chocolate market is fed by the Chinese middle-class consumer. They are looking for great chocolate, in other words, they want products to match their social status. Urban consumers show a desire to get closer to the western lifestyle. In this way, foreign brands are favored for several reasons. While talking about chocolate, this product is often linked with Belgium, Switzerland, or France. Consequently, a foreign brand has a given legitimacy.
Why High-End Chocolate can be a profitable business in China?
To start with, competing with local companies remains a big challenge because they have lower production costs and also because they rely on the local network to get commodities such as milk, and sugar. By the end of the process, they get very competitive pricing. Instead of that, it is better for a foreign company to understand, focus and use its competitive advantages like foreign heritage and the quality of the product. Indeed, the Chinese consumer views chocolate as a foreign exotic good. However, as a foreign company, you must work hard on your image because each foreign company has the same level of recognition.
What do you need to consider before starting a high-end chocolate business?
Chinese consumers enjoy different varieties of chocolate. So this is the opportunity to try different things. They like chocolate with blueberries, caramelized peanuts, cheese, green tea or and sesame, guarana incense, rice, sheep’s milk soy, and wine. This represents a real opportunity to explore your creativity and to show your talent. By giving a new or original gustative experience, you have the opportunity to associate chocolate with feelings and emotions. You should seize this occasion to link chocolate with the notion of pleasure and rational need.
- The Image
The main part of imported chocolate is purchased and offered as gifs or used in ceremonial occasions such as wedding candy. This means that you should pay attention to your packaging. As for all goods in China especially luxury goods, it’s really important to care about the aspect of the product. It is even more important than taste. Nowadays, young Chinese men take the example of western men by showing their love to their girlfriends by offering them luxury-packed chocolate. This is a very common habit reflecting the modern Chinese person. Last year on Valentine’s Day, chocolate was among the 10 top items sold online.
- Quality of the Chocolate
Today, there is a rise in awareness of food safety and health. So people look at the ingredient contained in the product they buy. One more time, as a foreign company you are believed to be more authentic. In other words, Chinese people trust foreign brand chocolate because they think that the product contains more milk or cocoa.
- The Price
When chocolate appeared in China, it was like a privilege that only a few people can afford. It was way too expensive for most people. However, because China opened its economy to the world, importation grew and chocolate became a common food product. Nevertheless, some of the chocolate brands are famous such as Ferrero because of its high price. In luxury, an industry price is always a tool of distinction because the notion of privilege is a part of luxury. Hence, if a brand wants to appear valued, it has to be expensive to match the expectation of a certain social category.
To sum up, a Chinese consumer may have several reasons to buy imported chocolate such as taste, brand, and price. As a chocolate maker, you need to adopt a good strategy to make a real difference with your competitors if you want to succeed in China.
You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China
Let’s see what we can do for you
Even if you have a physical shop you need to have a digital presence which means a website. So, people can check for your product and all your services especially if you are making chocolate. It is fanciful to think that you can sell your products without high-quality pictures. You need to think about the design of your website. Then you have to lead people to your website and this might be the result of a good advertisement.
Having a good opinion from journalist also matter because they are powerful and can interfere in your reputation. Therefore we have the resources needed to build for you a solid PR strategy. We have more than 2000 journalists in our contacts. We also can furnish you with a regular detailed report about the process in order to make the adjustment. The communication will be effective because we have Chinese members on our team.
Introduce you to the Chinese Ecommerce Platforms
When we talk about Ecommerce in China, we see the platforms such as Tmall, Jd.com, and Taobao. If you want to sell your Chocolate in China, you must integrate these platforms.
For more information about the Ecommerce platforms click here.
Think Digital: see Baidu
With over 82% of the Chinese market share, You should wonder why wouldn’t you choose Baidu. Baidu has a lot of competitors within China and Asia, but none of them can are as popular as Baidu. Close to matching their reach.
Baidu is used by over 90% of Chinese internet users which represents around 700 million users. This is a huge potential audience for your product. Some Research has shown that Chinese consumers actually believe that any company able to pay to promote their products in Baidu must be reputable. With Baidu ads on over 600,000 Chinese web pages, the potential marketplace for new business is colossal.
Online advertising has by far the largest reach in China and many companies report great success from it when compared to returns from other forms of advertisement. The main asset of Baidu is that both, PC and Mobile users can access your ads which are growing year after year.
Trend very popular among the B2B marketers, PPC is an effective way to generate leads in both China. However, to run an effective PPC campaign in China, B2B marketers need to have an understanding of cultural differences and the unique features of the Baidu PPC platform.
For more information please go on the section Contact.
Chinese people are already in love with chocolate, and I can see they love it even more with time. Foreign brands usually succeed in China since they are from aboard. Quality, better ingredients, this makes Chinese people want to buy your products over a competitor’s.
But some brands can fail to enter this market. And you gave us the answer: because of branding!!!
If you did not work well on your branding, you might not get the success you were expecting.