As China’s consumer market continues to evolve at a rapid speed, habits and expectations are constantly changing. A new report by media agency MEC has put together a report of nine consumer trends it’s been seeing in the China market, covering a range of everything from technology use to food habits. Look below to see how Chinese consumers’ expectations and interests are quickly shifting in areas highly relevant to retailers and service industries:
They’re becoming more obsessed with technology. According to the report, the “geek movement” has become mainstream in China, prompting a fascination with high-tech devices such as wearable tech. A survey finds that 31 percent of consumers say they are high-tech trendsetters, a number that’s up 35 percent since 2010.
Work-life balance is turning into a must. One piece of very good news for the travel industry is the study’s finding that Chinese consumers are more focused than ever on leading a “balanced” life. This is resulting in an uptick of “rejuvenation”-focused activities, such as yoga, going to the gym, or traveling. According to the survey, from 2011 to 2013, the number of mentions of the term “balanced life” grew from 2,705 to 1.3 million.
They want to be inspired. The report finds that when choosing to make a purchase, their considerations are going far beyond that of the product itself. Since 2010, the number of consumers saying they want to shop in an “amiable” environment has increased by 47 percent to 84 percent of respondents—a statistic that should make luxury brands happy thanks to their focus on in-store experience.
They’re going shopping at night. Professionals that work all day need to get their shopping done later, and when stores aren’t open, they’re buying more online. Shanghai luxury mall iapm has noticed this trend, and stays open until 11 p.m. to meet consumers’ demands.
They expect company transparency. Rampant fakes and product safety scandals mean that Chinese consumers are wary of brands in general, so companies that can establish consumer trust and create an image of transparency have a major advantage. When it comes to food and beverages—especially high-end items such as wine—QR codes noting the item’s origin have helped to ease fears.
Chinese brands are gaining prestige. As Chinese brands rise in prominence, the term “domestic products” has taken off on social media with an increase of 2,379 percent. Fashion and beauty brands have been boosted in large part by Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan’s promotion over the past year.
They’re going niche. Individualism is gaining steam in many consumer industries in China, with 53 percent of consumers saying that they are willing to pay for brands that they think are original and unique. This number is up 16 percent since 2010, and the term “niche” is often discussed on Chinese social media along with the terms “customized” and “luxury.”
They’re becoming foodies. The report also finds that Chinese consumers are increasingly interested in trying and making new foods. Ratings of cooking shows and cookbook app downloads are up in China, and the attitude is heavily related to a perception of a cultured lifestyle—for example, the mobile all Meishijie is all about sharing beautiful photos of food.
They’re doing almost everything more on mobile. We’ve heard this time and time again, and this study once again verifies the trend. The number of mobile users in China has skyrocketed by 98 percent in four years, and the number of mobile payment users increased by 43 percent in six months in 2013. Alipay and WeChat’s payment systems are currently battling it out for the most users, while companies adopting a solid m-commerce strategy now are putting themselves in a solid position for the future.