The Wellness & Spa Industry in China

Chinese spa industry

The promotion of a healthy diet, fitness, and mental well-being has spread throughout China and the interest in healthy living, holistic traditions, and medical treatments are dominating the market. Anti-aging trends have spread more than ever, and spas offering beauty packages and aesthetic wellness programs are exploding in the country.

The spa industry in China is expected to reach 3.8 billion dollars by 2026 in sales revenue with an amazing market growth of 18.2% during the forecasted period. In this blog post, we will look at the industry trends and check the opportunities for foreign companies in the Chinese spa market.

The Spa Industry in China

A healthy obsession with Chinese medicine still sounds important for physical well-being and spas combine these ancient medicinal practices with the modern and cutting-edge science and technology that is attracting the crowd. Market leaders continually offer new interpretations of traditional treatments.

In a report published by the Asian Development Bank, the wellness market in China represents the majority of wellness spending in the Asia-Pacific region and it will only grow in the next years, as there are more and more wealthy Chinese people that want to take better care of their well-being and are willing to visit spas to get luxury treatment.

Furthermore, the boundary between the Spa services and the products of the retail line begins to merge. A combination of online and offline sales is the desire of all product suppliers and the spa industry needs technical improvements and industrial upgrades that meet China’s current requirements.

Covid-19 effect on the Chinese spa industry

The Covid-19 outbreak has given a lesson in health education to all people. Health-oriented consumption behaviors will continue even after the epidemic and more and more people now have a stronger awareness of embracing healthy lifestyles.

The new generations have started looking for wider and more sophisticated ways to achieve well-being, curbing their anxieties about an uncertain future. Many buy products such as beauty drinks or natural skincare cosmetics, practice more physical activity for the body or go to wellness centers and luxury spas.

In all of this, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) which are Chinese influencers on social media platforms, have played a fundamental role as leaders of the new “Health and Wellness” trends, photographing themselves in hotel spas that offer personalized services and luxury treatment, which is becoming a new trend among Millenials and Gen Z from the biggest cities of China.

chinese wellness market - what do chinese citizens do to stay healthy

4 new trends in the Spa industry to follow up to satisfy Chinese consumers

Chinese Spa industry offline to online integration

Products and lifestyles that help improve health are increasingly attracting people’s attention. The scale of sanitary products for cleaning and daily protection has increased significantly, therefore, owners of spas and beauty salons can buy more or even produce these products. Chinese customers will be willing to purchase these products and equipment from the spas they trust rather than from shopping malls.

In the future, it is important to introduce more products online that can be bundled with existing treatments. It is a good way to promote sales and increase the visibility and popularity of your spa business in China.

The spa and beauty industry could also consider providing more flexible and effective online spa solutions training since short video and live streaming, and online consumption became more popular in people’s daily life. It’s advisory to offer services that might attract the attention of consumers, like mini-programs with special treatments, inviting users to come to spas by offering them some features for free in the mini app first.

Here is an example of a yoga mini-program in Wechat, where people can sign up for classes on the app. It’s a good idea for a spa or wellness center to offer an application like this within Wechat, which can be later promoted within the WeChat ecosystem.

Spa services and fitness programs integration

More and more spa consumers are also starting to fall in love with fitness. In developed cities, people now see fitness as a trendy lifestyle under the influence of stars, influencers, KOLs, and Internet trends. For this reason, many spas, such as Amanyangyun, developed integrated programs to meet Chinese consumer healthy demand.

The number of water treatments has increased

There is now a wide range of wet facilities in the spa, far beyond the swimming pools and sauna. The halotherapy capsule, the oxygen capsule, and the ionic negative oxygen capsule are replacing the traditional free sauna and steam and generating many gains for the spa. Offering this type of luxury treatment will bring the attention of young consumers that are looking for new and interesting offers in the Chinese spa industry.

In addition, many rehabilitation programs are also very popular, including deep relaxation practices such as floating and watsu or bathing in imitated carbon spring tanks that can stimulate blood circulation and help with detoxification.

New, promotions, and CRM are the best way to increase Spa popularity in China

Currently, people go to spas not only for physical problems but also because of mental problems or the need to release stress. Therefore, it’s important to offer different service categories, to meet the needs of all the customers, especially since mental health in China is slowly going out of taboo and is being more and more highlighted, especially by the young generations.

Chinese consumers have different needs and attitudes compared to western ones, they spend a lot of time online on Chinese platforms, so if you want them to buy the treatment you really need to understand their culture or give them a reason to come back to your spa.

New” is the best way to get attention because curiosity is what Chinese consumers represent most. Spa treatments, equipment, and products must be “new” enough to win customers’ hearts and make them feel that they are something they cannot find elsewhere or that there is something new that they have never experienced before.

With the widespread use of the internet in their daily lives, spas should try to attract customers via different Chinese channels. How to do so? For example, promotions and member discounts are necessary to increase customer consumption. If service levels and facilities permit, the best way is always to tailor spa programs for individuals.

After customers come to the spa, the service that is the most important of all is how to make customers wish to revisit. An efficient customer management consultancy system and professional aftersales are what customers seek.

What are and how to use the Chinese channels to get more customers for your Spa?

Branding is the key to getting more customers in the Chinese spa industry

In China, your reputation and how famous is your brand really influence your success. It is always a question of perception and also about what people say about you in real life but also on social media. This is one of the reasons, you need to be careful about the image you reflect.

Therefore, you need to think about the values behind your brand and the experience that your consumers will have in your spa. We can help you to build a solid plan, using different tools like Social Media, PR, blog, Q&A platforms, and others.

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Chinese people don’t trust companies they never heard of and what works the best in China is word-of-mouth marketing. People rely mostly on other people’s opinions and recommendations. Therefore it’s important to get your name out there. Try to start some topics on Chinese forums, manage the communities on your social media, respond to comments, and so on.

KOCs & KOLs to promote your spa business and influence customers’ decisions

The best ambassadors of your brand are obviously your clients. Therefore, you can try to leverage your community by letting them talk about your spa and your services on social media platforms.

This kind of marketing strategy is called KOC (Key Opinion Consumers), they are customers like everyone who loves to comment and share an opinion about products and services. They give you the opportunity to increase visibility and attract new customers, as they are perceived as reliable. If you want to know how to leverage KOCs to promote your brand click here.

You can also hire KOLs (bigger influencers) in order to promote your spa business. They can make promotions on some platforms such as Wechat, Douyin, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu. Thanks to KOL you will get more leads and visibility out of your followers base.

KOLs humanize your brand and give it a great personality. In addition, it connects you quickly to a large audience which can be better influenced using KOL rather than an advertising campaign. This technique is particularly efficient in China because Chinese consumers will be more likely to trust someone they admire rather than advertising.

However, you need to choose the right KOL for your brand’s image. You need to find a KOL that shares the same values as your brand. You also need to pay attention to its community. Is it the kind of consumers that you want to target? Be careful, because sometimes, an influencer with the biggest amount of followers isn’t always the wisest choice.

Chinese website on Baidu as a window for your spa services

A presence on Baidu, the most used Chinese search engine is something necessary if you want to appear trustable among Chinese customers. As we said before, they spend a lot of time on the Internet to look for companies’ information, services, and products, and Baidu, as Google for us, is one of these places where they find information.

Baidu gives you the opportunity to show your spa images, value,s and services to Chinese consumers, but to rank high on Baidu you should put efforts into SEO strategy and follow some tips:

  • your Website needs to be hosted in China,
  • you need to get an ICP license,
  • your website must be in Mandarin Chinese to rank in Baidu.

In fact, Baidu knows only Mandarin and gives priority to websites hosted in China. In addition, the website culture is different, therefore you need to adapt your content/design to the local expectations.

Social media to promote Spa services and get more membership

China is the world’s biggest social media market. Chinese people increasingly depend on these platforms as a place to share their opinions, ask for product advice, and connect with others. That’s why spas should put efforts into promoting services and products on these platforms, leverage the community, and manage the customer relationship.

Wechat is the most used platform to manage the customer relationship and promote your spa services

People get a more solid connection to the brand via social media and at the same time brands can reach Chinese consumers and interact with them. Wechat with its 1.26 billion monthly active users, is the main Chinese social network and, therefore, the best tool where to promote your services.

It allows companies a complete CRM through:

  • The ability to create Wechat official accounts (Subscription, Service)
  • Interact with followers and keep them updated on brand news
  • Mini-programs, are small apps inside the WeChat ecosystem that cover various functions, such as e-commerce, games, and much more.
  • WeChat Pay payment method is used by 900 million monthly active users with 1 billion transactions per day, from O2O connections, mini-programs, or Tencent platforms.
  • Wechat advertising (Wechat moment ads, wechat account promotion, wechat mini program ads, wechat article banner ads).

Weibo is the best platform to increase your popularity and get more customers

Weibo with its 520 million monthly active users, is the second most used social network in China, presenting itself as a micro-blogging platform.

Compared to WeChat which is a many-to-one platform, Weibo is a one-to-many platform where to communicate to the masses, therefore it offers companies the possibility to:

  • Increase brand awareness,
  • Convert users into customers,
  • Retain those already acquired,
  • Collaborate with KOL to increase audience ratings,
  • Recommendations through word-of-mouth marketing.

Use Zhihu to build e-reputation

Zhihu marketing is an excellent tool to complete omnichannel marketing and increase visibility among Chinese customers.

Zhihu is a platform based on UGC (user-generated content). In China, community and word of mouth are very useful to spread your company name among customers. Therefore, this platform can really help you to increase your spa popularity in the Chinese market.

Not only being present on Zhihu will allow you to answer questions about your field but also educate your target audience about your services in an undercover way. It is an excellent tool to increase customer consumption and generate awareness about your spa.

If you want to know more about leveraging the community to talk about your Spa, contact GMA!

We are a China marketing agency with more than 10 years of experience and 600 brands that successfully entered the Chinese market. We offer many different services for small and big companies wanting to enter the Chinese spa industry.

Do you want to know more about How to market your brand in the Chinese market? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specializing in the Chinese digital market.

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