Mark Tanner
29 September 2021 0 Comments

This week’s news and trends in China:

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

Introducing the New China Skinny Supplements Tracker: Video, screen shots and instant sign up to the interactive Tracker dashboards providing real time marketing insights for Health Supplements, as well as Skincare, Beauty and Dairy.

Mall Economics: How to Get Consumers in China to Shop in Stores: TX Huaihai has been open for less than 18 months in Shanghai but attracts over 30,000 shoppers a day by appealing to young Chinese consumers’ needs. Skateboarding brand Vans’ only immersive experience boutique store in Asia is there, and like a lot of other stores, must change its display every month or even every week. The mall includes DJ stations for consumers to spin a few tracks. There is an entire floor dedicated to emerging Chinese designers, a theatre for talk shows and art exhibits, which include a permanent installation by multimedia collective TeamLab inside the mall’s nightclub. The mall also has a hair salon that specialises in colouring, which many young consumers see as an accessory as important as their clothing. The cat café charges ¥68 ($11) to play with cats for two hours, which includes a cup of coffee.

US Companies Upbeat About Future in China as they Shake Off Covid-19 Effects, Tension: AmCham Survey: 77.1% of the 338 respondents in AmCham Shanghai’s annual survey reported profits in 2020, in line with previous years. More than 82.2% expect to revenues to grow this year. Over 53% of the respondents complained that China’s travel restrictions arising from the coronavirus outbreak prevented them from drawing and retaining foreign talent.

Staying Health

China Gains: International Brands Advised to Focus on Weight and Muscle Gain, Not Weight Loss: Supplement brands selling to Chinese consumers should play to Chinese consumers’ specific needs and emotions, rather than product functions. The next big health supplement category may be pets.

A Thin Fad Is Becoming Life-Threatening for Chinese Women: Being thin remains an unchallenged standard for female attractiveness in much of East Asia, where women have been found to be most eager to lose weight. In China, the criteria of a beautiful woman is summed up in popular slang as “white, young, and thin,” a view supported by many parents, colleagues and KOLs. Algorithms feed young women with endless weight-loss slogans and dieting tips. Messages like “Sleeping with hunger is the beginning of a beautiful life” and “How do you take control of your life if you cannot control your weight?” are common on Douyin. 73% of female university students in 2016/17 said they had taken action to lose weight in the past six months.

Alibaba Health Publishes 2021 Healthcare E-Commerce Trend Report: Online sales of health products grew by 50% year-over-year in the year ending May 2021 on Tmall’s Pharmaceutical Platform. Demand for health checkups skyrocketed by 2,700%. Products addressing hair loss, weight loss and a lack of sleep continue to be popular categories. Sales of sleep aids, including supplements, sleep patches and electronic devices, jumped by 220%. There was a 56% rise in healthy foods that are conveniently packaged to eat on the go – such as sesame balls, bird’s nests and goji-berry beverages.

Online: Digital China

Chinese TikTok, Douyin, Limits Screen Time for Young Users: Douyin has successfully incorporated a more stringent ‘youth mode’ into the app meaning all users under 14 who have registered using their real names will automatically enter the app’s youth mode and cannot exit independently. The new setting only allows access to the app from 6am to 10pm and for a maximum of 40 minutes per day, and cannot interact with the content or other users. No tutoring, gaming or browsing short videos: What are kids going to do after school now?

Premium Food & Beverage

Zespri Sales to China Continue With No Sign of Covid After Testing Scare: Kiwifruit marketer Zespri says it is continuing to supply into China as normal with no further Covid positive tests on its fruit after a recent scare. Zespri expected some short-term market impact in China but was encouraged by the response from Chinese consumers.

KeNiuLe to Offer Fairlife Chilled Milk Products in China: Coca-Cola has partnered with Mengniu to launch chilled milk products produced in Anhui province and sold under the US brand FairLife/KeNiuLe. The products are expected to make full use of the advantages of both partners, including dairy development and processing techniques, loved brand influence and wide-spread distribution channels.

Diageo to Create Shanghai R&D Centre: Diageo will build a research and development centre in Shanghai with the aim of creating ‘an exciting portfolio of products developed in China for China based on local consumer insights and trends.’ Diageo’s white spirits sales grew 53% in Greater China last year with Scotch growing 21%, and it expects continued growth over the next five years driven by premiumisation with new channels and occasions emerging.

Green Dining a Rising Hit in Metropolis: Premium property developer, Xintiandi, has urged its restaurant and food hall tenants to sign a Green Pledge, under which they offer plant-based dishes on top of their regular recipes. Over 300 restaurants have signed up in Shanghai, with its commercial complexes in cities like Wuhan, Foshan, Chongqing and Nanjing also on course to adopt such an initiative.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

China’s Covid-Hit Tourism Market Saved from Mid-Autumn Festival Doldrums by Short Trips and Local Travel: Revenue over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday was not drastically below pre-pandemic levels, even amid official recommendations against travel. 88.2 million travelled, 87.2% of the number in 2019. 56% of tours booked were short-distance tourism, saving the day in big cities like Beijing. Travel agencies, airlines and railway services that rely on longer trips did not fare as well. Longer trips are likely to face a similar fate for the coming Golden Week. Macau was expecting hotel occupancy at 90% over Golden Week, but is likely to face significant cancellations due to recent Covid cases and nucleic acid testing requirements in the region.

Overall Beauty

Avon Launches First Chinese Mainland Flagship Store: Avon has opened its doors in Shanghai’s West Nanjing Road. It is placing an emphasis on Gen-Z consumers, complete with a livestreaming studio within the store. Opening events saw the debut of ANEW Renewal Activating Serum with Protinol, and the upgraded Avon Little Black Dress Charm fragrance series.

Designers and Fashion

Nike, Adidas Back in Favour with Chinese Consumers: Survey: When asked which athletic brands they considered purchasing next, 81% said Nike according to a Citi survey this month, up from 48% in a June survey. Adidas increased from 31% in June to 49% this month. Peak and Li Ning dropped to 7% and 4% respectively. Both brands were at 54% in June.