Women power is nothing new in China. From Empress Cixi, ruler of the Qing Dynasty to Chairman Mao proclaiming that “women hold up half the sky,” females have long contributed to all aspects of life in the Middle Kingdom. In modern day China, their influence is ever-increasing. Supporting the growth of female power, Alibaba is currently hosting their inaugural Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in Hangzhou. And rightly so, unlike many male-dominated tech companies globally, 40% of Alibaba’s employees are female.
As China’s women receive more equal employment and education opportunities, the playing field is flattening. Today’s ladies have come to expect more than their predecessors. Their influence is being felt on all levels including the consumer market.
Women’s average contribution to household income jumped from 20% in 1980 to 50% in 2013. 86% of Chinese mothers believe the future holds new opportunities and financial stability for their daughters, according to Nielsen. With this blooming confidence, women now have a louder voice in financial decisions. Women have become the CFO’s of the household, handling the purchasing decisions for everyday goods like family groceries and to big ticket items such as finances, electronics and even automobiles.
Of China’s huge population, 640 million are women consumers. Not only are they shopping, but also creating change and driving China’s economy. Whether it be dancing grandmas or online entrepreneurs the “She-era” is the backbone of the China century. Capturing these women is going to take more than just being a foreign brand or feminine branding – slapping a pink label on a product doesn’t mean it will resonate with Chinese women.
Marketing to the modern woman in China is communicating with someone who is balancing work and family – which often consists of their parents and children. Women in China, as elsewhere, are looking to streamline their lives and online shopping is one example of how they’re doing this. 86% of China’s internet users access through mobiles with women browsing and buying on their way to and from work and picking up the kids.
Consumers are not the same from province to province and of course vary even more between gender. Whether you are targeting consumers from tier-1 cities or specific demographics such as young urban females, without understanding and speaking to consumer needs and desires, there is little chance of standing out in China’s fiercely competitive market.
Kudos to Alibaba for bringing women into the spotlight and raising the profile of women in China and abroad. A stronger and more confident female market in China is good for the country, and for Alibaba.
If China Skinny can assist you in understanding or reaching a specific China market whether females, or another consumer segment, be in touch today.