Both traditional retail brands and start-ups are striving to convert consumers’ interests into a sustainable business in 2016. Customers want to see and experience the world at all times. China is entering “she-economy”. More people are realizing the importance of healthy lifestyle according to Mintel.
O2O services have accelerated from a developmental phase to a commercially viable business model across China’s largest cities in 2015. With bigger and faster logistics networks and more dynamic service models, O2O services are expected to elevate to new industries, spread to more cities and regions, and will offer more dynamic and personalized services in 2016.
Challenges and threats to the traditional brick-and-mortar stores will continue to increase in 2016. In addition to exploring O2O offering, traditional retailers should look to add value and meaning to physical stores, turning the space into an environment for new experiences and social activities. The future of O2O lies in how well brands can utilize idle and qualified human resources and then match them with the right consumer needs. The competitive landscape of the Chinese O2O market grants more power to consumers for tailor-made services.
More O2O businesses will be executing strategies to provide products and services to regions where they were previously unavailable in 2016 and beyond. 45% of consumers from tier two and three cities have not used O2O services due to the lack of availability.
Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform, has launched campaigns to encourage farmers from China’s countryside to sell on Taobao. More online and offline retailers will participate to win the rural market in 2016.
Video has become the most popularly consumed online media in China with as much as 83% of internet users watching videos on desktops and an additional 73% viewing videos on tablets in 2015 according to Mintel.
Chinese consumers are gradually developing an appetite for watching videos online, leading to a willingness to pay for high-quality and uninterrupted content. 38% China’s consumers have already paid for online video streaming and 31% would be interested in giving it a try in 2015.
Consumers want to see and experience the world at all times. 74% of Chinese consumers find interactive activities held by brands encourage them to purchase in 2015. Live-streamed video satisfies consumers’ needs for online interactions as Chinese netizens are highly social and active in voicing their opinions online.
More dynamic improvements will be made to online live-streaming content and video technology in China in 2016 and beyond. With better video and recording technology, live-streaming will be more interactive, more immersive and more universal.
Future VR is set to take live-streaming into uncharted territory in 2016. With VR technology, brands could bring consumers into their live-streamed marketing activities from the comfort of their home.
China’s women’s rising education level and workforce participation allows them to live more independently and further contribute to the consumer economy which presents more opportunities for brands to tap into ‘the women’s market’.
58% of Chinese moms say they are the sole person who manages household finances. Female consumers aged between 30 and 39 years old in metropolis cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are the driving force of China’s cross-border online shopping market this year according to the Voice of China. Marketers are paying more attention to female preferences and needs in both product development and in the way in which they communicate to and with women.
Women are more likely to be impulsive buyers and tend to be less ‘self-disciplined’ than men. 42% of women say they cannot help buying when there is a shopping atmosphere such as Double 11 (November 11 2015) or Black Friday shopping festival compared to 34% among men.
Lucrative opportunities for brands will target female consumers with ever-increasing spending power to pursue their interests in 2016. This refers not merely to cater to women’s specific product or service needs but also calls for brands to show their understanding, appreciation, and support for the rising ‘she-economy’.
As brands and institutions strive to keep health threats such as air pollution and food safety issues under control, China’s consumers have begun to take a more proactive approach towards health in 2015.
For busy urbanites, eating fresh and living healthy is made possible thanks to the development of O2O (online to offline) businesses in China. From square dancing aunties to gym club members, regular exercise is indeed becoming a trend and essential part of the Chinese consumer lifestyle. Almost two in five (37%) Chinese consumers have a gym membership, a number that is expected to increase in the coming years according to Mintel. The number of Chinese consumers who claim to have sub-health conditions reached 86% in 2015.
30% of consumers use mobile or tablet apps to track their activity levels in 2015 while approximately one in 10 consumers has used wearable devices to track sleep quality, heart rate, and blood pressure. Furthermore, 74% of consumers show an interest in using wearable devices to manage their health in the future.
Also read: China Retail V.S. Online Shopping 2015