Retail, hospitality adapt to China’s new consumer realities

    A roundup and synopsis of popular Chinese-language articles, first released on Jing Daily’s WeChat account.
    Image: Getty Images
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Retail

    As consumer expectations in China rapidly evolve, various industries face a reality check.

    The retail sector is witnessing a notable downturn in physical store presence, exemplified by the closures of prominent players like Calvinluo and Meilong Town Isetan, along with Uniqlo’s strategic retreat from non-profitable locations.

    At the same time, hospitality is experiencing a renaissance driven by “traffic-driven cultural tourism,” with hotel spaces transforming into vibrant, culturally immersive environments to capture Gen Z consumers.

    These shifts highlight a broader trend across industries: the need to innovate and resonate more deeply with consumers’ changing preferences.

    Whats driving the surge of fashion store closures in China?#

    Image: Fast Retailing Group
    Image: Fast Retailing Group

    Despite its relative commercial success, Chinese designer brand Calvinluo announced the gradual closure of all its operations starting in the first quarter of 2025. Meilong Town Isetan, which has been operational for nearly 30 years, will also completely withdraw from Shanghai by the end of June this year. The decline of brick-and-mortar stores has become a significant trend in China, with at least 4,181 fashion retail stores shuttering in the first half of 2023. Brands need to rethink their strategies to break through in this new era of consumer expectations. Full story here

    How hotels can capture the wave of ‘traffic-driven cultural tourism’#

    Image: Shanghai Peace Hotel
    Image: Shanghai Peace Hotel

    The hospitality and tourism market is undergoing a transformation, propelled by government initiatives emphasizing enhanced hotel service quality and the integration of cultural and tourism experiences. As Chinese travelers seek cultural attractions, hotel spaces are modernizing and creating more vibrant social spaces to provide consumers with differentiated stays. This shift is evident in the emergence of themed hotels, which leverage various cultural and experiential elements to satisfy today’s travelers. Full story here

    Revving up emotions in China’s automotive industry#

    Image: Tesla
    Image: Tesla

    Rather than facts and figures, emotional marketing is becoming the key to winning over China’s car buyers. Since the release of Xiaomi’s SU7, both non-automobile consumers and automotive manufacturers alike have leveraged livestreaming to engage with consumers more directly. As consumers prioritize personal preferences over functional value, automotive companies face a critical question: How can they speak to a generation that values emotional experiences? Full story here

    WeChat Digest is a weekly roundup of top-performing articles from Jing Daily’s official WeChat channel, offering a niche and nuanced glimpse of Chinese consumers. Alongside translated snippets, direct links to the original Mandarin articles are provided, allowing Mandarin-speaking readers to fully grasp the context and depth of the featured stories.

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