With growing concern over the impact of air pollution on health, air purifier has found their place in the Chinese Household Appliances must-have list. In this post, we are taking a deeper look at the reason air purifiers have grown in popularity as well as how can foreign brands can leverage local channels to sell their products to Chinese consumers
How to sell your air purifier brand in China?
Air pollution in China is one of the biggest development issues of the country. According to AQICN.Org, Beijing has a very unhealthy Air Quality Index of 172 which is almost double of Shenzhen or Guangzhou’s pollution index. This trend led the Chinese population to seek tools ( air purifiers) that will help them breathe better.
According to GFK, a global market research company, 3.52 million air purifiers products were sold in 2015 in China generating a revenue of about US$1.2 Billion which equals a 10% increase compared to 2014. The ratio of air purifiers in Chinese families is 10 for 100 families which is pretty low compared to some of China’s neighboring countries.
There are huge opportunities for brands wishing to sell air purifiers in China as M.Zhou, GM of GFK China stated, the market in China is not saturated nor mature yet. As an example, Bosch Group, a German home appliances brand saw its revenue increase by 10% from 2014 to 2015 and exceeded 70 billion euros of sales.
The best way to lower your unit cost of production and core costs such as promotion, PR, and sales is to go digital. Not only will it be more cost-efficient and it will also enable you to connect directly with your potential customers.
Search Engine optimisation on Baidu
As you may already know, Google can’t be used in China. If you want to be visible when Chinese customers are looking for air purifiers, you have to be on the first pages of Baidu. Baidu is a Chinese search engine and the leader of its market. It actually owns more than 80% of market shares in China!
As Baidu’s requirements are different from those of Google, you should tailor your SEO strategy and optimize your website accordingly. When certain keywords are typed on Baidu about air purifiers, your brand should be on the first page or on the worse second page. Another way to use Baidu is to do PPC. This basically means that you pay a certain amount to Baidu in order to rank better on certain keywords.
Here is an example of the brand Philips which ranks first when we type 空气净化器 （air purifier) on Baidu.
Sell your products online
The fastest way to sell your air purifiers brand on the Chinese market is to sell online. You don’t need to care about having a shop assistant facing the customer or handling cashier issues. Of course, you will need to have a dedicated team to manage online orders and reply to online customers’ queries.
The two main selling platforms for air purifiers and any products for that matter in China are Jd.com and Tmall.com. They both rank top of China Internet Magazine TOP 100 E-Commerce companies in China right after Taobao.com
Tmall.com called 天猫, Tian Miao in Chinese is a Taobao e-commerce website released in 2008 as the B2C platform. It sells several products such as brands products, apparel, beauty products, and so on. Tmall is part of the Alibaba group led by Jack Ma.
You can see on the picture above a list of air purifiers on Tmall.com
The second you should use to sell your products is JD.com also called Jingdong Mall (京东商城 Jing Dong Shang Cheng in Chinese was founded in 1998 by Liu Qiangdong. It is now headquartered in Beijing and is one of the main B2C e-commerce platforms in China.
Here is a capture of JD.com layout with air purifiers being listed with their price and characteristics.
Online press releases and E-PR
Now that you know where you can sell your products, you have to attract Chinese visitors to these websites but most importantly, you have to raise your brand awareness. Using online PR by doing interviews for online websites, will make your brand more visible to the Chinese potential customer.
The best way to use E-PR for an air purifier brand is by being present on targeted and specialized websites such as PCHOME.net. This is a Chinese website talking solely about electronic products like household products, laptops, mobile phones, cameras, and of course, air purifiers.
An article published on PC home
Chinese social media and e-reputation
Finally, you have Chinese social media platforms. With more than 660 million Internet users in China and an estimated 9 out of 10 Chinese netizens having at least one account on social media, having a profile on main Chinese social media platforms will definitely benefit your sale forecasts.
The main social media in China are WeChat, Weibo, Qzone, QQ, and Ren Ren. WeChat is the most widely used in China. 68% of adult Chinese netizens use WeChat. What is WeChat? WeChat is an instant messaging mobile app developed by Tencent (father of QQ).
As a brand, you can create an official account on WeChat (see picture for Phillips above)
Another social media you may consider using is Weibo. Weibo is a microblogging platform with more than 222 million active users in China alone. As you can see Phillips has more than 135 000 followers on Weibo. As word-of-mouth is prevalent in China, sharing information on social media platforms allows Chinese visitor to build their own opinion about the products and sometimes to share the information with their online friends.
Chinese people tend to directly think “online” when they encounter an issue with a product or a service. Social media is a double-sword tool that should be used wisely.
Xiao Mi, a growing Chinese tech company, had to deal with both the good and bad sides of social media in China. The brand usually had good reviews and positive comments online when it started to sell its air filters earlier this year. Actually, this good reputation helped them to sell more than 800,000 units of air filters almost instantly after the launch.
However, they are recently dealing with e-reputation issues. According to Fortune.com, a post originally published one of Xinhua’s official accounts on WeChat about the fact that Xiao Mi’s air filters are fake and have bad quality was shared across Chinese social media in February 2016.
If you want to thrive in the Chinese market you will thus have to provide high-quality products, have a strong presence online through social media websites and online press releases as well as maintain, improving your online reputation.