Market Survey on Shopping habits of Chinese Consumers with Food

A glimpse into the shopping habits of Chinese consumers

In the past years, Chinese food shopping habits have changed and evolved dramatically. Nowadays a company willing to enter the Chinese market must be able to understand how Chinese buy and which channels are their favorite if they want to be successful. Understanding the preferences and mindset of consumer groups is crucial to successfully expand a food brand into China and here are the key points to better understand it.

The Internet is nowadays the main source of information when it comes to checking food brands information

According to a recent study that focuses on Chinese consumers’ food consumption, the Internet is the main source of information when a customer is looking for information on a food brand. Without any surprise, nearly two third of the respondents said that they check on Baidu. Then for 20% of the respondents, friends, and relatives are the second favorite source of information. In the third position, we have social media which accounts for 9%.

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Curiously, age doesn’t create a real difference in terms of results. The biggest difference concerns the friend circle. The youngest generation and people aged between 25 and 34 are more inclined to use others’ feedback to check food brands. They are the ones who consider the most their friend circle most and social media.

But how do Chinese consumers purchase food nowadays?

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94 % of the panel has already purchased food online. Tmall, JD, and Yihaodian are the favorite online platforms used to buy food. The corporate brand’s website arrives at the fifth position.

Nearly 9 out of 10 respondents trust food safety purchased on e-commerce platforms.

What about imported food purchases?

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More than 85% of the respondents buy imported food. People above 45 are the most timorous when it comes to buying this category of products. 72% are used to buying imported food whereas they are 91% between the age of 35 and 44 years old.

And very important indeed, imported food is bought by 74% of the respondents as a gift.

What are the important criteria for the Chinese to buy imported food?

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Safety is the most important criterion for 80% of the panel. In fact, for a country shacked many times by food scandals it’s not a surprise at all. Thus, brands shouldn’t overlook safety messages when promoting their products in China.

Quality reaches the second position and is seen as an important buying trigger for 66% of the panel, while 2 respondents out of 3 who buy imported food are impacted by the brand.

For the years to come, the demand for high-quality products and particularly among younger generations, will for sure present huge opportunities for companies.

The United States and France remain the favorite countries for imported food

These two countries are seen as those with the best reputation for exported food. Then, there’s hardly anything to choose between Japan and Italy.

Dairy products and snacks are the 2 kinds of imported products the most purchased by Chinese consumers. More than half of respondents who buy imported food buy at least one of these 2 items.

60% of respondents who buy imported food do so online. Why do they prefer to buy online? Because it’s more convenient for 70% of them and because they can find better prices than in an offline shop.

Friends and family recommendations as well as online information are for 67% of the panel a motivation to buy imported food online.

Then, the conclusion of this study is very obvious; if you want to be able to reach Chinese customers you can’t give the Internet a miss both for communication and sales.

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This survey has been conducted by Gentlemen Marketing Agency in Partnership with Daxue Consulting 

You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China.