Mark Tanner
28 August 2013 0 Comments

There’s no shortage of jaw-dropping numbers in China, however it’s the speed those numbers are changing that’s most fascinating.  Since Adam first met Eve, the world has never seen changes on the scale that are currently happening in China.  In 2000, just 4% of Chinese households were considered middle class.  By 2022, three-quarters of China’s urban dwellers, 630 million, are expected to be middle to upper class.

In 1990, China had a total of 5.4 million vehicles on the road.  Fast forward 22 years, and 19 million cars and trucks were sold in China in 2012 alone.   As recently as 2010, Nokia had a 70% share of China’s smartphone market.  In the first six months of 2013, 150 million smartphones sold in China and less than 5% of them were Nokias. Even with all the food scandals, Chinese consumers are eating almost three times more meat than they were in 1990, including 1.7 million pigs a day.  But it is urban migration that’s really changing consumer habits.  Since 1990, China’s urbanisation rate has more than doubled to 53% and there are now more than 123 Chinese cities with more people than Barcelona

All the big numbers aside, China is still behind the USA for overall consumer spending.  Nevertheless, with a growth rate of 14.3% last year, Chinese consumers are poised to take the top spot by 2018.   This is obviously good to know for any business selling in China, but also relevant to consumers everywhere.  Chinese consumers will have an increased influence on many of the products and services everyone consumes. We’ve already seen Hollywood blockbusters pampering to Chinese audiences, smartphone manufacturers are now developing big screen devices for Chinese tastes and many tourist spots around the world are now quite China-focused.  Because of China’s growing consumer classes, fruit lovers in Arkansas may be paying more for cherries.  And that’s just the start of China’s influence everywhere, so it’s best to stay abreast of this ever-changing market.

Below you’ll find a few more of those staggering statistics and growth rates, as well as the usuals.  Hopefully the insights will be helpful.  Enjoy!

Chinese consumers Chinese Consumers

China Will Overtake USA as World’s No. 1 Consumer: China is set to become the world’s largest consumer market in five years according to a new report by Standard & Poor. Retail sales of consumer goods in 2012 grew 14.3% to $3.29 trillion.

Will China’s Little Emperors Become Little Consumers: Balinghou- Chinese born from 1980-1990, are increasing consumption by more than 20% annually. An overview of their characteristics those of other generations.

5 Eye-Popping Numbers Behind China’s Rise : China’s staggering population numbers, consumption of steel, Internet users and car buyers.

Tesco Didn’t Understand Differences Between Chinese and Western Shoppers: Tesco failed to understand the Chinese consumer and how unsuited they are to its so-called secret weapon – the clubcard. Almost all Chinese consumers are in at least one loyalty programme and 63% had loyalty cards from four or more retailers.

China’s Crackdown on Pricing by Foreign Companies is Getting Public Support: Beijing is showing its might across industries from luxury cars, to drugs, to baby formula, which is driving down costs for consumers and slowly helping local brands build cred [paid subscription required].

Chinese Internet Internet, Mobile & Social Media

All the Facts and Stats on China’s Web Users: An infograph showing a nice overview of China’s 591 million web users.

236 Million Users Active on WeChat Every Month : WeChat’s active monthly user count now stands at 235.8 million, up 177% in 12-months. With almost 400 million registered users, 100 million are now outside of China. From Vodka companies inviting VIPs to events, to Durex using WeChat’s unique features, WeChat has become an effective marketing tool for businesses in China.

China Emerging as ‘Mobile Only’ in Sharp Contrast to the U.S. Multiscreen Market: 32% of Chinese use their smartphones for web browsing, versus 21% of Americans. Chinese are more likely to forego TV and print media to use their mobile, with 23% using it for at least 3 hours a day. The most popular use is entertainment.

Tablet Users in China Accepting of Ads: 84% of Chinese tablet owners use their devices for watching videos, 50% read online magazines. 39% of them were open to clicking on ads on their tablets, 60% more than ads on their PCs.

Chinese Consumers Leaning Towards Samsung and Local Brands as Apple Loses its Charm: When Chinese consumers were asked which smartphone brands immediately comes to mind, 80.6% thought of Apple and 79.6% thought Samsung. However Samsung is trending up, and Apple is spiralling downwards as the “most anticipated smartphone purchase” and “most used smartphone brand”.

Over Half of Activated Android Devices Installed Wandoujia App Store: The Wandoujia app store has been installed on more than half of Chinese Android smartphones, with almost 200 million users.

Mike Tyson Joins Weibo: But Chinese sardonic sense of humour may be a little over his head.

Chinese food and beverage Food and Beverage

Bottled Water Market Quickly Turning Chinese: Increasingly health conscious Chinese have seen mineral water rise to 42% of China’s soft drink market.

China Beer Market Insights 2013: China’s beer market is seeing an upturn in premium beers. Innovative packaging is also on the up due to environmental concerns, cost-saving initiatives, convenience and novelty elements. Constant investment is required to stay ahead in the market [report for purchase].

Outbound Tourism

China Travel Market Gained Strength in 2012Long haul trips by Chinese tourists are picked to top 20 million by 2015. Travel agents are still involved with 90% of Chinese long-haul trips, either through bookings (63%) or research (27%).

Auckland Airport Announces Weibo Travel App: From Weibo’s ‘540 million’ registered users, 62 million are travel enthusiasts with 2 million users daily posting 2.6 million posting about overseas travel. Auckland Airport has launched a new Weibo travel app enabling potential visitors to create their travel itineraries and share them with their followers and find travel deals.

Physical Health & Beauty

Practical Advice for Doing Business in China: China’s dietary supplement market is worth ¥135 billion ($22 billion) supported by China’s massive aging population, rising upper middle class, poor external health conditions, and increasing levels of acceptance of western healthcare brands.

Property Property

Body paint sells homes in China: Chinese property developers are using models giving away gold bars, girls scantily clad in flowers and now ladies with body paint showing floor plans to sell houses.

China Retail Trends Q2 2013: International retailers continue to expand in Shanghai as new projects come on stream, but competition for space in the best spots remains fierce. Supply in Beijing is still tight with pent up demand. Most foreign retailers are focusing on a core 12-15 cities, compared with 30 a few years ago. Developers in smaller cities are giving away space to foreign brands to fill vacancies.

Chinese auto Auto

Keanu Reeves Stars in VW Sponsored Chinese Microfilm: Nice creative piece of brand building to win Chinese car-buyers preference: A 16-min short film starring Keanu Reeves, Chinese singer Jing Boran and Hong Kong actor Lam Suet features VW Group’s Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini, Bugati and a Volkswagen Scirocco R.

In China’s Luxury-Auto Market, More-Affordable is in Fashion: Hopefully that can help the slowdown in high-end luxury car sales in China, with Ferrari’s growth down 12.5%, Bentley’s growth slowing 23% and Lamborghini’s growth at zero. A little further down the value chain is faring better: Audi, BMW and Jaguar-Land Rover all have growth in the teens [paid subscription required].

Chinese luxury Luxury Goods

Only 20pc of Chinese Consumers Prefer to Buy Luxuries at Home: 44% of Chinese luxury consumers prefer shopping in HK and Macau while 15% would like to buy in the U.S. 15% prefer Europe, down from 23% last year.

Weird Weird & Wonderful

Lyin’ zoo’s deceitful ways: A whole new class on fakes in China: Henan Zoo passes off a Tibetan Mastiff as a lion, discovered when the ‘lion’ started barking. Next time you’re at the panda enclosure, double check it’s not one of these.

That’s The Skinny for the week!  China Skinny would love to discuss how we could help with your marketing, online initiatives or research to take advantage of China’s opportunities.  Just email us at or call us at +86 21 3221 0273 so we can learn more about your objectives and let you know how we can help.

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