This week’s news and trends in China:
Video: Making Retail Stores Attractive In Times of Covid: We visit L’Oréal’s new concept store in Shanghai to see how integrating online and offline in a physical store creates an experience that would be hard to match on an ecommerce app.
Chinese Consumers Expect Better Offline Shopping Experience: Survey: 93% of Chinese consumers hope for a better shopping experience in brick-and-mortar venues, according to a China Youth Daily survey. The top three suggestions to improve the shopping experience are well-trained sales service personnel, optimised services at the checkout counter and a no-hassle return policy within seven days.
China’s Retail Sales ‘Bright Spot’ Amid Uneven Economic Recovery: Retail sales grew by 12.4% in May from a year earlier, which fell short of expectations. The surveyed jobless rate stood at 5% in May, from 5.1% in April.
Chongqing, Chengdu Top New First-Tier Cities by Population: Among China’s 15 ‘new first-tier cities’, Chongqing municipality clocked a total permanent population of 32.05 million, followed by Chengdu with 20.94 million. 11 others are over the 10 million mark with Dongguan, Qingdao and Changsha being newcomers to the 10 million+ club.
Inside Shanghai’s Coolest Concept Store: Chinese fashion retailer ENG is set to open a second store in Shanghai – a reflection of its success – with its futuristic spaceship interior and buzzy atmosphere proving a hit with the rising wave of Chinese Gen-Z consumers. After opening in May 2019 the store hosted 20 events over seven months, driving an estimated 30% of monthly sales.
China’s Annual 618 Shopping Event Shows Consumers Are Back: 618 sales were estimated to be ¥578.5 billion ($89.4 billion), up 26.5% over 2020. Tmall topped the platforms for sales. Household appliances, mobile communications and clothing & accessories were the top-selling categories. Emerging brands were among the top performers, with 453 top-selling brands less than 3-years old.
ByteDance’s Revenue Surged 111% in 2020, Records 1.9 Billion Users: ByteDance, parent company of Douyin, Toutiao, and Tiktok – the first China-owned app to hit the masses in the West – more than doubled its revenue last year to $34.3 billion mainly driven by advertising. The company has 1.9 billion monthly users across its platforms.
Alibaba’s Fresh-Food Chain to Open 10 Warehouse Units in 2021 Amid Rising Competition: Freshippo/Hema announced plans to open 10 members-only warehouse supermarkets in China by the end of the year, with a large focus on imported food, particularly fresh seafood, which it doesn’t believe covid traces on packaging to be a concern based on their import systems. Here’s a video of the Shanghai pilot store, including the cross border showroom where shoppers can order something and have it clear customs and be picked up from a locker within 30 minutes.
Nestle, Saturnbird Brew Summer Stimulation: Nestle is looking to innovative products to maintain its strong leadership in China’s growing instant coffee category, launching recycled packaging and a new product using double-sized beans. Nestle’s share dropped from 72.4% to 71% between 2018 and 2020, while second-placed Saturnbird Coffee grew from 0.1% to 3.7%. It has launched gift boxes by collaborating with renowned lifestyle-related brands to recreate interesting life scenarios, from outdoor biking and camping to urban markets.
JD com : Pasture Initiative Kicks with Partnership in New Zealand: JD.com will bring fresh New Zealand milk to Chinese consumers by partnering with imported milk brand Theland. Theland is majority-owned by Alibaba. On the first day of this year’s 618, sales of the high-end diamond series of Theland milk increased 17 times year-on-year, while another children’s milk series sales increased six times.
Fear of ‘Covibesity’: Emergence of Snacking Trend a Boon for Fruit-Based, Wellbeing-Focused Products: 57% of Chinese consumers snacked in the afternoon in 2020, up from 46% in 2019. 53% snacked between breakfast and lunch.
How Shiseido Cornered China’s Skincare Market: Forty years after entering China, Shiseido continues to grow by focusing on prestige skincare, cutting-edge technology, and personalised services.
China Population: Infertility Rate Rising Faster than Expected, New Reproductive Study Shows: One out of every 5.6 couples of childbearing age in China is unable to make a baby despite frequently having unprotected sex for at least a year. The infertility rate has growth from 12% in 2007 to 18% in 2020. Globally, the rate increased from 11% in 1997 to 15.4% in 2018, driven by the increase in the average age that couples first try to have a baby, as well as increasingly unhealthy lifestyles and environmental pollution.
Learning to Ski in a Country of Beginners: As China prepares to host the Winter Olympics, its people get on skis. Peter Hessler shares his family ski trip in China. When it comes to planning a ski vacation in China, the Internet is not a reassuring place. First, there are the slogans: “Three Hundred Million People Enter the Ice and Snow.” Second, there are the reviews: “There are truckloads of local tourists who come for a day of skiing,” … “They are uninformed (some skied in dresses), have no idea about skiing, do not pay for instructors. They are plain dangerous.” … “The instructors were very annoying, with one who kept hounding us to the point where we packed up our skis and went home, just to get him out of our faces.”