Mark Tanner
Mark Tanner
7 January 2015 0 Comments

Happy 2015; we hope the year has started well for you.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that way for some – our hearts go out to the friends and families of the 36 young Chinese who died during the New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Bund here in Shanghai.

With every New Year comes the slew of forecasts for the next 12-months. One prediction that hasn’t gone amiss is the continued rise of mobiles as an integral part of Chinese consumers’ lives.  Just look to the 83% of online Chinese using their smartphones, the 468 million active WeChat users in Q3 2014 and mobile shopping accounting for 54% of transactions on Alibaba’s Alipay.

However, if we dig a little deeper, there are some notable variations in mobile habits between different regions.  Mobile commerce – the next evolution of online shopping – is actually much more popular in China’s developing cities than in the sophisticated Tier-1 cities.  Shanghainese consumers used mobiles for less than a quarter of online shopping purchases in the first 10-months of 2014, whereas consumers in Shaanxi province bought 60% of their goods online via smartphones.

The variances illustrate how much mobile shopping has penetrated the fast-growing ‘smaller’ cities of China, largely due to limited fixed broadband infrastructure and slim pickings in high street stores.   It also represents how dissimilar the customer journey can be in different parts of China.

Looking beyond China’s biggest and most saturated cities to grow sales, and having different regional marketing tactics are two of the five points China Skinny recommends considering when making your 2015 plans for China.  As always, China Skinny can help ensure your plans maximise the opportunities in China – contact us today.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny.

Consumers,: Chinese Consumers

5 Key Points for China in 2015Five points to keep in mind when refining your China plan for 2015.

The Power of the She-conomyChinese women have the largest amount of independence in handling their finances, with 76% of them having their own bank accounts, much higher than other Asian areas surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. 69% of Chinese women prefer shopping online to physical stores. 63% bought products from abroad because they considered them better than those produced domestically.

Captive Audience: IKEA Lures Sleepers With Showroom in Beijing AirportNice brand building from Ikea, showcasing their products while providing Chinese consumers some real benefits.

Kingfisher Sells B&Q China Stake as DIY Fails to Take OffB&Q’s 39 outlets in China are now 70% owned by Beijing-based Wumei Holdings. Cheap labour to do odd jobs around the home, a lack of interest in DIY from Chinese, and not adapting to the Chinese market has seen B&Q struggle in China.

China’s Best Ads in 201446 minute vid: Three creative directors share their thoughts on the best ads of 2014 for China.

Online: Internet, eCommerce & Mobile

Alipay Report Shows Mobile Commerce Booming in China54% of transactions conducted over Alibaba’s Alipay were made on a mobile for the first 10-months of 2014, up from 22% in 2013. Mobile payments had the highest penetration in remote Western regions Tibet (62%), Shaanxi (60%) and Ningxia (58%), whereas the lowest mobile penetration was in the Tier-1 cities: Shanghai (24%), Guangzhou (27%) and Beijing (29%).

China’s Startup Sector is Effervescent With Peculiarities of its OwnInteresting analysis of China’s domestically-targeted startup scene versus India’s international focus. 109 Chinese companies are now listed on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange versus eight Indian firms.

Premium Food & Beverage

Eight Officials Sacked After Pork from Diseased Pigs Sold for Food in ChinaAnother food scandal for those who saw in the New Year with smoked ham or sausages – they could have been sourced from the estimated 70,000 diseased pigs processed each year in China.

Costco ‘Shocked’ by One-Day Sales of $3.5M on Alibaba’s Tmall SiteCostco will expand further into China after selling $3.5 million worth of goods online on Singles’ Day. Five of the top-10 European supermarket chains and more than 100 global merchants are lined up to join Tmall according to Alibaba.

A Glimpse Inside Hershey’s Innovation Centre in ShanghaiAlthough its Innovation Centre doesn’t look overly sleek, Hershey’s ensures it chocolates are localised to China’s unique preferences. With the average Swiss consumer eating almost 1,000 times more chocolate the average Chinese consumer, there is plenty of room for growth.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Top 12 Chinese Outbound Travel Trends to Watch in 2015A good roundup of trends in China’s tourism market: 1) A broader destination spread; 2) Visa-free access goes global; 3) Chinese firms buy more tourism assets; 4) A surge in strategic agreements; 5) The rise of the Chinese hotel brand; 6) Secondary airports take centre stage; 7) Big year for Brand USA; 8) Cruising at high speed; 9) Keep an eye on Africa; 10) Better profiling and market analysis; 11) Travel niches ready for take-off; and 12) Consumer marketing extends beyond UnionPay.

InterContinental Rolls Out New Hualuxe Hotel Brand for ChinaInterContinental Hotels Group, the world’s largest hotel group, is opening its first China-specific brand, Hualuxe, with hotels in more than 100 Chinese cities plus overseas locations planned over the next 15-20 years.

Health Beauty

Shiseido Aims to Double China Sales With More Local Execs, Ecommerce“China store sales are expected to rise between 5-10% but it’s in e-commerce, that we see an extraordinary opportunity,” Masahiko Uotani, CEO explaining how Shiseido will double sales in China by 2020.

Banking and Investments

Surging Chinese Investment Overseas Has Widespread Global Impact, Especially For The Hospitality IndustryHow things have changed in a year for Chinese investment – particularly in the tourism and hospitality, real estate and food industries.

Premium and Luxury

Exclusive, Mobile, And Global: The China Luxury Market’s Top 5 Trends of 2014How the luxury segment panned out for the year: 1) China’s luxury consumers more global than ever; 2) “New normal” domestic growth here to stay; 3) Individualism in high demand; 4) Brands worked to prevent overexposure; and 5) Luxury consumers go mobile.

That’s the Skinny for the week! See previous newsletter here. Contact China Skinny for marketing, research and digital advice and implementation.