It’s a new age for women in China.
Their taste for beer has matured, their appetite for gaming is on the rise and greater numbers are choosing to delay or opt against getting marriage and becoming mothers.
With great economic opportunity, higher levels of social stability, and more independence both financially and socially, it’s not difficult to see why China has produced the most self-made female billionaires.
Chinese women are empowered to decide on the lives they want for themselves in 2021. The purchasing power of female consumers in China is being recognised across industry, with spending during the pandemic demonstrating the extent of financial resources held by many Chinese women.
Female consumers currently account for three out of four purchases in China. But it’s not just the quantity of products sold in the past year which showcase the strength of this consumer group. The quality and variety of goods and services that female consumers demand is also changing. From cosmetics to fashion, health and fitness to gaming, travel and luxury goods, female consumers are investing in self-improvement and crafting their own public image. They are also helping to drive what companies like JD.com are referring to as a “consumption upgrade.”
With higher disposable incomes than ever before, Chinese women in their 20s to 40s are now able to make choices that were less available to their mothers or grandmothers. Some are deciding to have smaller or larger households, now that China’s one-child policy is no longer in place. Many are comparatively well educated and modern Chinese pop culture is encouraging them to splurge on themselves. Just like generations of women in the West saw single life and shopping glorified in U.S. shows like Sex and the City, Chinese women have newfound appreciation for the same self-pampering and luxuries of life thanks to the latest Chinese hit show, Sisters Who Make Waves.
With 33 million more men than women in China as of 2019, Chinese women are even spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a romantic partner.
To better understand the rise of female consumers in China, let’s have a look at their behaviour across some of the leading consumer industries:
When it comes to China’s US$662.7 billion catering market, women are feasting on more than their fair share. According to Industrial Securities, female consumers account for 60 percent of the multibillion dollar sector.
Chinese women have also developed a thirst for beer, with beer consumption increasing by 27 percent amongst female consumers between July 2019 and August 2020 alone.
Recently the Chinese government made a move to loosen control of licenses for duty free franchises. China already accounts for 30 percent of global luxury spending, but by exempting tax on luxury goods, premier products may soon become more affordable to the average Chinese citizen.
In 2019, female consumers in China were estimated to have spent US $700 billion on luxury items globally. They are even challenging traditional gender stereotypes by making up over 40 percent of luxury car purchases in China’s car industry.
One of the most popular self-care investments made by female consumers during lockdown was the sale of fitness gear. China Daily Asia reported that “yoga mats, body care and female care products soared by 142 percent, 117 percent and 66 percent respectively year-on-year during the period January 20 to February 10” 2020.
Consultancy firm Mintel China surveyed female customers and said the data revealed Chinese women felt an increase in internal and external pressure amid the pandemic. Laurel Gu, a category director at Mintel, said that female consumers had also chosen to invest more in the “health, safety and protection” of themselves and their families, leading to huge increases in the sale of products like toys, musical instruments, and infant milk formula.
While women have long been the dominant consumers of cosmetic products, some ladies in China have enjoyed the opportunity to wear less makeup beneath their face masks during the pandemic.
However, ecommerce apps like Red, or Xiaohongshu, have continued to see growth in cosmetics sales in spite of the social distancing, isolation and other limitations brought by COVID-19. Consumer searches for beauty and makeup-and-skincare content were higher by 74 percent and 126 percent respectively in February 2020 than January.
Mobile usage boomed in China in February 2020, with big data service provider QuestMobile reporting that female users in China spent 157 hours on mobile internet that month. This equals a 43 percent year-on-year increase.
At the height of the pandemic in China, active female shoppers hit 226 million – an increase of 8 percent year-on-year. Each female user spent around 7 hours on ecommerce apps at this time, which was a 10 percent year-on-year increase. Taobao and Pinduoduo were reported as being amongst the 10 apps that female users were most active on, but competition is growing with both increased and diversified channels for online purchases.
Handheld gaming consoles cater to large audiences of both men and women in China.
Between January and February 2020, female purchases of Nintendo’s Switch console increased by 295 percent year on-year, and their purchases of tablet computers also grew by 50 percent year-on-year during this period.
Female consumers are one of the most lucrative yet rapidly evolving consumer segments in China. They challenge gender stereotypes and rival demand in industries typically dominated by male consumers.
To best understand how you can reach a certain demographic or target market within the enormous segment that is female consumers in China, reach out to our team at China Skinny today to get help in developing the right research and marketing plan for your business!