Chinese “dama” became famous by making a good deal.

What does dama stand for ?

If you had the chance to spend some time in China, you’ve might have seen them in squares dancing in unison or in subway stations elbowing their way through the crowds or may be in markets scrambling for discounted goods.

Here, China’s “damas” which means “big mothers” (大妈), refers to a group of Chinese middle-aged women who rushed to purchase gold as an investment in the year 2013 when the gold price plunged greatly, especially in April and October. This word has first been used by the Wall Street Journal in August of that year.

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Usually, “dama” word is used to describe an aunt or as a respectful appellation for an elderly married woman generally between 40 to 60 years old. She is ordinarily a caring old woman who has taken over everything in a household, starting with the wallet. 

However, this stereotype changed when gold prices fell from US$1,550 per ounce to US$1,321 per ounce in April of 2013. Indeed, at that time, an army of damas swept jewelry stores across the mainland, as well as Hong Kong and Macao. The reason behind this act is that these women had begun seeking more profitable investment channels than their low-interest savings accounts.

They have a sense of value

Nevertheless, these dama are not just investors. Indeed, it seems like they are now looking for a high-quality life and they aspire to higher-status identity. They are now enjoying a high living standard and they possess stable assets.

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For example, Mrs. Yang, 60 years old : she is only buying imported and additive-free sauces for her family. She prefers buying the most expensive product rather than eating an unhealthy product. Nowadays, many families can already buy more than they just need.

Another example with Mrs. Gao, 49 : she aspires to improve herself on the way lives and her perceived social identity by showing off with expensive outfit whereas she can’t really afford a lot of them. But she likes it because thanks to that, employees act differently in front of her. She think that being dressed with expensive clothes helps to prevent judgements.

Their past

Nowadays, damas have a reputation for being rude but what you have to know is that in China, people currently aged 40-60 have experienced the mass starvation of the Great Leap Forward, the widespread insanity of the Cultural Revolution and thus they had to live through new government laws like the one-child policy. During that period, lots of people went through poverty and hunger.

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Nowadays, everything changed. Today, China is offering consumption as an important means of identification. Plus, this consumption patterns have become more open and pluralized. Thus, dama’s consumption is always changing. They can now afford anything they want, the buy only what you need part doesn’t factor in anymore.

This middle-aged women are consumers

According to a report of McKinsey in 2012 about Chinese consumers, young Chinese consumers are mostly spending their money on clothes and electronics while middle-aged women are mainly purchasing cars, houses and premium luxury products.

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However, nowadays, brands are not paying enough attention at these women. They seem to only care about young consumers. But they actually shouldn’t. Damas still have an undeniable presence in Chinese society. So if your are interested to attract these women, here is 4 different types of dama :

The pragmatic dama

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This type of dama represents middle-aged women who are more cautious about saving money to ensure security in terms of family finances. In addition, from another point of view, there are willing to spend lots of money on health-related products and daily necessities (mostly food and children’s items).

The modest dama

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Most of the dama are satisfied with their position in life. They are comfortable with what they possess, with their own skin and they aren’t envious of the others. They care more about their grandchildren and they own parents that can still be alive.

The poseur dama

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In China, people tend to show off themselves with upper class products or by being part of an upper class community without the money to back that up. For business men, buying an expensive car helps them to give their firm’s prosperity and positive prospects. For dama, they prefer taking advantage of brands in order to shape their social identity and their family’s. For exemple, Mrs Wang, 47 sent her son to the best and most expensive junior high school in their district. Unfortunately, her son wasn’t able to get the grades needed to enter the best high school but it doesn’t matter for the mother because she only did that on the purpose of helping her son to get in touch with the upper-case students even though she earned only average wages.

The wealthy dama

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This type of dama is a one that can afford everything though they have a similar background to pragmatic dama. Most of the time, these damas are well-educated and they often worked in a well-paid society or even in government. This group of middle-aged women is less price-sensitive and they are more willing to pursue their high-quality life by purchasing only top brands products.

According to all this, even if it exists different types of dama, they all share common characteristics. Indeed, they’re more likely to buy comestible products. Also, as the gold rush of 2013 showed, they tend to shop in group. Recently, dama have emerged as an affluent group of consumers and thus they are offering new marketing opportunities for education, ecommerce, health product of even daily necessities firms. But to approach them, companies will have to understand these women. They will have to consider their past and the way they purchase (collectively).

So, how do you get to them using a digital marketing solution?

Favour group purchase

Bet on instinctive purchase like buzz event backed up with an O2O strategy to keep in touch and influence them directly.

Have an effective digital marketing strategy :

  • Good SEO
  • Strong social media activity (Weibo, Wechat)
  • Online press relation is essential

Check out our latest news about social media and have an idea about how to use them

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