With the continued rebalancing of the Chinese economy, 2016 could be characterised as another year of change for China. The Year of the Monkey, 2016, is also set to be another year of Chinese transformation, as China continues down the path of becoming more of a consumption rather than a manufacturing economy. The Chinese retail sector is at the intersection of much of this transformation and, with the rapid growth of e-commerce, Chinese retail is changing and adapting fast.
To help you focus on what is important, I have synthesized the multitude of change into 8 key retail trends in China for the Year of the Monkey that I think you should be thinking about and creating strategies to address.
So each day for thew next 8 I will be featuring another retail trend.
Here goes with Trend 1
Foreign Flavors – Trend 1
There has been an influx of international products and brands into China in the past year, and this will continue in the Year of the Monkey. Tmall Global, the international division of the huge eCommerce platform Taobao Tmall, has been instrumental in fuelling growth in sales of foreign brands, linking sellers with a ready market of Chinese consumers whose appetite for international goods is strong. Tmall Global’s promise – “100% foreign original authentic, 100% foreign merchants, 100% domestic return” – speaks directly to consumer sensitivity around food and product safety and the demand for reassurance on authenticity, as well as a desire for international fashion and the latest consumer durables.
Thanks to digital platforms and fairly straightforward customs regulations, many more international brands are finding the time is now right to dip a toe in the lucrative Chinese market. Cross-border sales – some official, some not – have long been a way for Chinese consumers to experience new brands, and we see digital sales platforms growing in appeal for international brands taking the plunge in this market. Electronics and apparel have for some time been strong cross-border sellers online in China, and we now see growing sales of international brands in FMCG products, particularly those relating to baby care, health and nutrition, given ongoing domestic concern about safety in these categories.
Those consumers who have had the means to travel internationally to buy foreign brands will continue to do so, but, by providing these goods through trusted online channels, brands have an opportunity to connect with many millions more people.