Chinese consumer demands, lifestyle, and behavior and attitude have changed greatly following the demographic structure and society evolutions as well as the three emerging forces in China’s consumer market, leading to more and more new particular consumer segments in China.
Social changes of national consumption age hasten new consumer segments such as “urban fashion men” and “active senior citizens”. The emerging trend of bachelordom develops new consumer group named as “the urban single tribe” with unique demands which are totally different from other consumers.
Emphasizing on experience and feelings as well as following closely the fashion trend have created “experience first” and “eager to become a master” segments. The age of high connectivity and digitization sees the born of “two-dimensional space” and “virtual social networkers”.
Enterprises shall deeply investigate each particular consumer group, and fully consider their special demands to identify the correct positioning of products and services. Then estimate their growth potential and formulate suitable strategies with diversified pricing, particular scenarios, and different functions.
Urban fashion men
Consumptions across various age groups are increasing in China, not limited to a specific consumer segment, age groups, or gender. China has entered into the “national consumption” age.
Rise of male consumers group in China roots in the accumulation of social wealth; social progress brings about diversified social identities for the individual; and, richer social life makes the male’s desire for non-essential materials become unprecedentedly huge, which is the prime power for the rapid rise of male consumers in China.
The number of male consumers increases dramatically on both offline shopping and online shopping; categories of consumption related to the male become more diversified, and the amount of expenditure is close to the female. Especially for online shopping, no matter they buy something for themselves or for female family members,
Especially for online shopping, the annual expenditure of Chinese male consumers is higher than the annual expenditure of Chinese female consumers, having reached 10,025 yuan.
Taking growth rate in skin care products for instance. Compared with the overall growth rate of 11% in China’s overall skin care market, the growth rate of the skin care products for men is twice faster than the overall growing rate and reaches 24%.
Nowadays, young male consumers who were born in the 1980s and 1990s living in the cities are different from their parents. They read male fashion magazines, pay attention to self-image, enjoy life, and are willing to spend money on their clothes and hair styles. They on average spend 24 minutes on grooming every day. They also concern about their health; and, they will work out in fitness clubs.
73% male consumers in China’s first-tier cities believe that the personal appearance is important for job hunting and dating; 88% will check information of beauty and fashion on the internet; and, 83% in 18-35 years old age group think it is necessary to use skin care products.
Apart from traditional advertising, the influence of the internet on male consumers shall not be neglected. Many brands start to pay more attention to their exposure rate on the internet. Chinese male consumption market’s demands on fashion and personalization are increasing constantly; different brands could offer more differentiated choices.
Active senior citizens
Other than “the economy of fashionable men”, the Chinese demographic structure becomes increasingly mature. “Silver Economy” market is also becoming more and more competitive. The aging tendency of the Chinese population is an indisputable fact. Official research indicates that the total population of the elderly people is more than 200 million in China. Over the past decade, income levels of elderly people in China have increased significantly. Consumption structures also gradually shifted focus from basic necessities of survival to cultural relaxation activities.
Official research indicates that the total population of the elderly people is more than 200 million in China. Over the past decade, income levels of elderly people in China have increased significantly. Consumption structures also gradually shifted focus from basic necessities of survival to cultural relaxation activities.
In such a general background, lifestyles of elderly people in China are becoming more and more active and diverse. According to BCG research and studies on elderly people around the world, elderly people are keeping a more youthful appearance and “not satisfied with being old”. After retirement, they are no longer content with current lifestyle of staying at home. Besides, elderly people don’t just take care of grandchildren, grow
After retirement, they are no longer satisfied with the current lifestyle of staying at home. Besides, elderly people don’t just take care of grandchildren, grow plants, or read books in their twilight years. When asked about “the ideal state of retirement life” in China, the new generation of elderly people aged from 46 to 55 demonstrated significantly different viewpoints as opposed to the previous generation of those who are above 55 years old.
The new generation of old people is more willing to go out of their houses and pursue colorful retirement lifestyles. In particular, they are actively engaged in traveling, seeking for new hobbies and interests, sports, reemployment, volunteer work after retirement. The ratio is 10% to 20% higher than the previous generation of old people.
In addition, Wang Deshun, who is known as “the coolest grandpa” and the brand ambassador of Reebok, as well as Shao Quanfa, who is a 72-year-old sportsman and completed 70 marathon races, have become extremely popular and inspiring public figures. They made more retired people realize the new possibilities and created new business opportunities.
China’s elderly consumer market is the future of a blue ocean, showing a large scale, more diversified demand, supply shortage, and obvious consumption willingness.
Take tourism industry targeting the elderly for example. According to statistics from China’s National Tourism Administration, the average annual growth of senior citizen tourism market reached 21.5% between 2012 and 2015 which was higher than the overall growth rate of 16.8%. In 2015, it reached 826 billion yuan. And, 35-40 years old and above 65 years old are major consumers for cruise travel.
Under the age of silver economy, economic growth is as important as economic quality. From the perspective of consumption, the growth of some durable consumer goods slows down; organizations’ focus shifts to the elderly led businesses.
It’s imperative for businesses to develop strategies on how to guide the elderly’s consumption to personalized and diversified directions with high quality.
The urban single tribe
The population of bachelordom in China is about 200 million. The proportion of people who live alone has increased from 6% from ten years ago to 16%; the proportion of people who are more than 35 years old and still single reaches 21%, which is four times as much as it was ten years ago. 36% single women said that they are happy without getting married; as high as 80% expressed that they would rather remain single than rush to get married.
There are more and more white-collar workers and highly-skilled workers choose to remain in “the single tribe”. The reasons for keeping single may be different: some don’t want to interrupt the existing state of life; some keep high standards of choosing a spouse; and, some think that the expense of marriage is high that they would rather invest in themselves to improve themselves and pursue individual freedom.
The proportion of urban Chinese women who choose to be the single on their own initiative is high; they are economically independent, do not rely on men, and believe marriage is not a thing that women are forced into as it was before.
The number of Chinese who meet with the above-mentioned characteristics is increasing. Media and the public voice do not treat them with colored spectacles and do not call the single as “leftover women and men”. State of keeping single has become a kind of common phenomenon.
It is noteworthy that trend of bachelordom does not only refer to marital status but also indicates mental attitude change. Married couples also enjoy personal space and happiness belonging to the single when they are not accompanied by their spouse.
As the number of people who choose to become single on their own initiative increases, “the economy of bachelordom” becomes popular. “The economy of the single women” and “the economy of the single” have created a series of business opportunities.
Producing customized products and services for the single is becoming a trend of marketing; such customized products and services for the single including solo KTV, solo seat in restaurant, refrigerator with small size, small high-end retail store which provides abundant imported products, solo housing supplied by land agent, and solo dwelling with individualized design.
Acceptability of the society on the single is improved constantly. “One person” brings a new pattern of consumption, and hasten new consumers segment targeting the single. The single has become a key consumer segment which shall not be ignored by the consumer market.
The “healthy green advocates” and “environmental protection” segment
Food is the paramount necessity of the people, and safety is the top issue. In recent years, shocking security incidents of food, drug, haze, and water pollution were reported repeatedly. Food security and health have become a top concern in China.
People care for their own health, extending concerns to the environment and sustainable development. The proportion of consumers who are not satisfied with food security or medical treatment is among the highest which are 57% and 47% of respondents respectively according to BCG.
Report on Chinese Green consumers in 2016 issued by AliResearch indicated that Chinese consumers’ aspiration on green consumption and environmental protection upsurges unprecedentedly; their pursuit of healthy and green lifestyle is not only reflected on the preference on green products selections but also reflected on that they hope their consumption behaviors and patterns of consumption will meet health environmental protection standard.
According to a GFK survey, 73% interviewees expressed that they feel guilty if their lifestyle is harmful to the environment. The proportion ranks the 7th among the 23 countries participated in the survey. Furthermore, as high as 80% respondents think that brands and companies shall be responsible for the environment.
Advocating healthy life, laying emphasis on environmental protection, and the idea of sustainability make “environment-friendly consumers” become a new large Chinese consumer segment which develops rapidly. Environment-friendly consumers pay attention to environmental protection and have purchased more than five kinds of environment-friendly products. They have green consciousness; they have turned or may turn green consciousness into green consuming behaviors; they hope to create active influence on other people and society through their behaviors of buying environment-friendly products.
Environment-friendly consumers pay attention to environmental protection and have purchased more than five categories of environment-friendly products. They are green consciousness and hope to create a positive influence on other people and society through their behaviors of buying environment-friendly products.
The AliResearch report also shows that the internet has become the main battlefield of green consumption. Especially in recent years, the proportion of “environment-friendly consumers” had increased from 3.4% in 2011 to 16.3% or 66 million in 2015. Green and environment-friendly consumption have become the main consumer habit, which also increased the price of environment-friendly products by 33%.
The emergence of environment-friendly consumers is significant for consumer markets in China, forcing businesses to pay attention to sustainable development and green products supply. “Experience suprematism” and “people who yearn for becoming great master” who keep up with the trend become the new consumers groups.
The “experience first” and “eager to become a master” customers
Popularity and accessibility of internet information and booming international tourism enable more and more Chinese consumers in line with global trend; their horizon is more broad, and their ability to accept various emerging things become stronger.
Chinese consumers are increasingly keen to spend longer time researching their own consumption need and acquire purchase information through digital platforms such as the “Little Red Book” to help with their purchase decisions.
Furthermore, experiential consumption has become a kind of trend in China. Consumers are no longer satisfied with visiting familiar cultural and geographical environment and traditional tourist spots; they take delight in tourism which is full of exotic charm and features unconventionality and extreme sports.
According to the report of “high-end tourism in China” issued by Hurun, the popularity to Japan and Korea has declined from 58% to 36% between 2015 and 2017. However, tourism in other foreign lands such as Africa, Antarctica, Arctic, and the Middle East has grown from less than 10% to around 20%. Between 2015 and 2018, the expected growth of participation in rock climbing, motorcycle race and surfing is 124%, 103% and 70% respectively.
Some traditional businesses affected by the internet have identified new opportunities for the “experience first” consumers by crafting the design and sales of customer experiences. A rising group of “experience first” consumers in China is willing to invest in their interests; and, some also expect to achieve a professional level of skills.
In recent years, professional cameras are popular among some photography enthusiasts; mobile applications for fitness and cooking have attracted as many as eight to nine million active users. All of these indicate that more and more Chinese consumers are willing to spend money and time to improve skill levels of their interests.
Experiential consumption such as outbound travel and extreme sports rises quickly; and, these Chinese consumers are willing to invest a lot financially in interests, leading to a rise of “experience first” and “eager to become a master” consumer segments. 00 Yuan each year on hobbies and interests such as oil painting, skiing, watching
Take a 30-year-old white collar living in a tier-1 Chinese city for an instant. The annual spend on the painting, skiing, opera, and pastry material purchase could easily exceed 35,000 yuan.
“Two-dimensional Space” and “virtual social” consumers
“二次元” (Er Ci Yuan) refers to the two-dimensional space, namely the flat space where the early animation and games were composed. And, consumers who are addicted to or fans of those characters in the animations of games are called Er Ci Yuan or “two-dimensional space”.
This consumer segment has an everlasting expectation for skills and experience; they will complete purchase and consumption while studying and creating. Digital times have created “two-dimensional” and “virtual social networking” consumers segments.
Parents who once deemed internet as savage beasts for their children are constantly interacting on WeChat now. Students, white-collar workers, and the elderly all have a smartphone enabling them to 24/7 access to the internet.
PwC data shows that Chinese consumers spend the most time on digital devices in the world; they have extremely high requirements on the convenience of the equipment. The average time a Chinese consumer spends on a smartphone, laptop, and tablets is as high as 170, 161 and 59 minutes respectively, which is far more than the global average time of 147, 108 and 50 minutes. Furthermore, the convenience of online and mobile shopping in China also make consumers willingly to be in the state of 24/7 internet connectivity.
Furthermore, the convenience of online and mobile shopping in China also make consumers willingly to be in the state of 24/7 internet connectivity. There are 62% Chinese consumers believe that online shopping is convenient, 4%-7% higher than the developed markets such as the U.S. and UK.
When encountering with the two-dimension virtual world and three-dimension real world, high connectivity and demands on convenience have made such consumers group feel that the two world has integrated; for them, the boundary between virtual and real world is vague.
For example, in the past, soccer fans of World Cup would only feel satisfied when they go to a bar or restaurant to watch the game with a beer, the crowd, and friends. Now, the “two-dimensional space” and “virtual social networking” consumers move “beer social networking” back home. They buy BBQ and beers on mobile; and, they interact with soccer fans around the world through bullet screen (a function which allows viewers to post on-screen comments in videos) while they watch the live broadcast online.
This brings new consumption pattern and demands. Young people’s entertainment such as the online novel, gaming, animation, and cartoons, which were once deemed as “improper occupation” by most of the adult have now made more and more young consumers realize their value of life, leading to a series of new business opportunities and peripheral products.