As the old Chinese adage goes, away from home they will judge your clothes and outward appearance. At home, it’s what’s underneath that matters. In Chinese homes, they are increasingly looking at your clothes, and your furniture, drapes and other trappings that have allowed you to imprint your individuality. The role of one’s house has been changing from a functional place to sleep to a place to live, experience and share.
There are a number of factors driving Chinese consumers to make their homes places of self-expression. A Chinese consumer today basks in about four times as much space than the average Chinese resident did 40 years ago. Kitchens and laundries have evolved from humble shared facilities to shiny tiled spaces, with 90% now containing a fridge and washing machine.
Whereas Chinese have long been out-of-home diners, the mouth-watering rise of food delivery has given consumers more reasons to stay at home. Supermarkets like Hema can deliver quality fresh produce within 30 minutes, seeing more folk staying in and cooking – often with expensive imported utensils. Throw in a few polluted days and the safest place seems to be at home breathing purified air.
These are some of the reasons – coupled with rising affluence – which have seen Chinese pay more attention to sprucing up their abodes. Home decoration, furniture, home appliances and other related categories have been among the fastest-growing retail categories over the past few years; and like with most consumer goods, Chinese shoppers are trading up. This has inspired companies like Panasonic to partner with Porsche to create expensive, connected home appliances for the increasingly house-proud consumers.
But don’t just take our word for it. Alibaba has analysed their data and clearly cottoned on to the trend. In February the company invested almost a billion dollars in home improvement and furniture chain Easyhome. Earlier this month they invested $25 million in home decoration service platform Shengong007 as further reassurance that this is a sector on the rise.
Brands should be looking at China’s transforming homes as more than just higher value sofas, paint and fridges. The newfound comforts are changing how they consume food and entertain themselves. It is influencing the way they research and view products overall, and is even shifting expectations of travel, souvenirs and accommodation while away. There are few brands that aren’t impacted by the evolving home life of Chinese consumers, which should be factored into everything from marketing propositions to product development – some of things that China Skinny does best!
For our European readers looking to get out of home, China Skinny’s Mitchell Burns will joining the esteemed line up of speakers at Europe’s leading health, natural and nutrition show Hi Europe in Frankfurt 27-29 November. If you are at the event, please do come by and say ni hao. More information here. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.