China is not only a salvation for businesses when other markets are struggling—its active and eager consumers also provide valuable insights into global trends.
That being said, recovering from the traumatic lockdown experiences, Chinese consumers’ desires, habits, and expectations are going through a change. It is the right time for businesses to follow the change and restudy their target customers.
If your company wants to expand or begin selling in China, it is crucial that you first understand these unique key groups of Chinese consumers. In this article, we will go through the latest Chinese market trendsetters and their unique expectations from the market.
Chinese consumer demographic
In order to understand how to target more Chinese consumers, we need to take a look at the consumer demographic and shopping habits of those people. China boasts the world’s largest middle-income population, which is expected to double from 400 million to 800 million people in the next 15 years.
China’s driving force when it comes to shopping is the younger generations, called Millennials and Gen Z, who are shaping consumer trends. They have different consumer attitudes than their parents and grandparents and are more likely to spend money on personal luxury goods.
Those Chinese shoppers are better educated and health and environment aware. They prioritize value and quality over low prices and like to spend on themselves, treating it as an investment rather than an extravaganza. There are also more and more singles, that buy luxury products for themselves, often have pets that they want to spoil, and so on.
Young consumers prefer to buy on e-commerce platforms rather than in convenience stores or department stores. They believe foreign brands have better quality than local brands and are willing to spend more, especially when it comes to cosmetics, health, or baby products.
New-generation parents prefer e-commerce shopping
Chinese Millennials who have children are the largest group of online users. These parents enjoy spending a lot of money on their kids, and most of it is through e-commerce. Throughout the day Chinese parents spend at least a few hours checking out their social media platforms.
They follow the latest trends through these platforms and when they are looking to buy products for their children, they rely heavily on other people’s reviews.
Young adults from lower-tier cities are increasing their purchasing power, thanks to their rising incomes. Therefore, it’s important to target lower-tier cities as well, as China’s consumers are changing, shifting from major cities to lower-tier cities, supported by the Chinese government, which wants to invite more investments in those regions.
The entire economic slowdown has less of an effect on young adults from lower-tier cities who are increasing their purchasing power. This is mainly because while their incomes are rising, their cost of living is stabilized.
These young adults from developing provinces like Hebei and Guanxi are highly into live-stream and short video platforms and value the reviews from parenting influencers. They love to purchase the trendy products they see on these platforms usually within the app in an instant.
Many Chinese consumers prefer to buy baby products from foreign brands online rather than local products in convenience stores, which is due to many big scandals with baby formula in the past decade.
Lockdowns and digital health code obligations turned the old generation into online shoppers
In today’s China, without the use of digital health codes, you literally can not enter any building except your own house! Anyone without a digital health code is strictly forbidden to step in even the grocery shops or any kind of transport.
This new regulation has forced the older generations of China to learn more about their mobile phones. Also, the ones who refused to use mobile ones now have one. Getting used to navigating through their phones, today older Chinese people can find their way to online commerce shops and even short video platforms for fun. Discovering the convenient way of ordering foods and necessities, they are slowly moving on to purchasing different types of products.
In China, the elderly population of people aged 60 and above has reached 270 million and is estimated to surpass 300 million in 2025. This suggests that businesses should focus on creating more products geared toward older adults (like diapers, ready meals, special fitness equipment etc.). These older aged Chinese consumers usually have high-expense power and they like to stay loyal to the foreign and local brands they start with. They are seen as the new avenue for boosting economic growth.
Targeting this group, brands should understand that they have to tailor content marketing strategies according to the desires and consumer needs of this unique group. China’s older generation wants marketers to reflect people their age who are proud of their achievements and not afraid to show some style.
Chinese Women are more independent than ever
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see highly educated and single Chinese women join the workforce of the country. These women have financial independence. They care about their personal freedom and they celebrate their individuality. One of their favorite activities is spending more time online and guess what? Do shopping! Also sharing their life with other fellow women online and offline.
Super active on social media (especially on Xiaohongshu) they love to spend on beauty products self-care, healthy products fashionable clothing, and trendy anything. They care about the word to mouth reviews, they look for promotions, brand events, and activities. Popular and international brands mean a statue to them and they love to show it off through their social media platforms influencing other women.
To connect with this group, marketers should avoid outdated marketing techniques and instead focus on consumer sentiment as it appears on popular social media platforms, like working with Chinese Key Opinion Leaders or live-streaming. Neglecting powerful Chinese women is not an option for companies.
Unmarried middle-aged men are more into high-end health goods and their looks
The spending habits of male digital consumers in China are diverse and multifaceted, varying with age. In China from 35 years old to 50, there are millions more men than women.
When it comes to the happily unmarried Middle-aged men of China, they are another untraditional demographic group in China. This group of men is highly affected by the covid lockdown. Staying at home alone for long periods triggered and reshaped their shopping habits. They are more into their health and appearances than ever.
Compared to their married fellows, this group of men is more into adventurous sports, discovering new habits, traveling, and being outgoing. They enjoy high-end products as they don’t have children or families to look after. In addition, Chinese men have begun to pay more attention to their looks–a trend that is slated to continue in the coming years.
Their favorite products to spend money on includes computers, watches, home appliances, and electronics. While they tend to invest in skin treatments and anti-aging products, they still spend a great deal on alcoholic products and tobacco. Overall, the luxurious and self-care product market potential is very large for this consumer group.
Are you targeting the Chinese Market? We can help you!
Are you looking to expand your business into China? If so, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the Chinese consumers. Who you target matters the most. When it comes to marketing in China, it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all.
Chinese consumers are unique and have different needs than other consumers around the world. That’s why it’s so important to study your target audience.
Having a tailored marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience is key to success. We are a Shanghai-based marketing agency that specializes in understanding the Chinese consumer.
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Our team of analysts can provide you with insights into this important market. Contact us today to learn more.