Mark Tanner
14 December 2021 0 Comments

This week’s news and trends in China:

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

A Christmas Tour of Shanghai: The Christmas spirit is very much alive in Shanghai.

Mattress IPO Puts Chinese Mystery to Bed: Who’s the old white guy in Chinese mattress retailer DeRucci’s adverts? The silver-haired man in a mandarin-collar shirt, usually puffing on a pipe with a slightly upset expression, has been ubiquitous on billboards throughout Greater China and international airports for over a decade. Yet DeRucci, which has tried to pass as French for years, attributed much of its marketing success to the old man’s image, which it continues to use. Last year it made $700 million in sales.

China’s Top Buzzwords and Internet Slang of 2021: Two lists of popular 2021 slang words were published last week offering a glimpse into what’s on the minds of Chinese internet users and government officials. They included ‘Double Reduction Policy’, ‘lying flat’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘Metaverse’, ‘profound changes unseen in a century’, ‘chicken babies’, ‘we are ready to build a powerful China’, ‘wild consumption’, ‘The Age of Awakening’, ‘moderately prosperous’, ‘a question to take on the challenges of a generation’, ‘peak carbon and carbon neutral’, ‘YYDS’, ‘abso absolutely’, ‘it doesn’t hurt, but it’s really embarrassing’, and ‘I didn’t get it, but I was in awe.’

Young Chinese Find a New Way to Explore Intimacy: Furry FandomYoung Chinese Find a New Way to Explore Intimacy: Furry Fandom: For many Chinese urbanites, dressing up in furry animal costumes has become a way of life – and a method for unlocking their true selves.

Online: Digital China

How TikTok (and Douyin) Reads Your Mind: A leaked internal document from ByteDance provides a revealing glimpse both of Tiktok and Douyin’s mathematical core and insight into the company’s understanding of human nature – our tendencies toward boredom, our sensitivity to cultural cues – that help explain why it’s so hard to put down. The app is shockingly good at reading your preferences and steering you to one of its many “sides,” and revealing your desires even to yourself. The algorithm tries to get people addicted rather than giving them what they really want. In related news, Chinese tech companies are thinking about expanding overseas much earlier in their lifecycle and there has been a rise in those growing their international business.

Premium Food & Beverage

A Chat with Genki Forest’s Tang Binsen: The Self-Confessed Pirate: The business and personal views from the CEO of China’s most successful FMCG disrupter brand, Genki Forest.

The Macallan Caters to Chinese Whisky Palate With Immersive Experience in Shanghai: Whiskey brand Macallan has opened an immersive exhibition in Shanghai to translate its heritage and history to potential customers. The brand’s 4,000 square metre tribute to nature, culture and heritage is its largest-ever event of this kind.

JD Shows Consumer Demand for Imported Fruits, Fresh Produce Rising: The popularity of imported high-end fruits can be attributed to rising disposable incomes and health awareness among Chinese consumers. The value of imported fruit in China reached $12 billion during the January-October period, up 33.5% year-on-year. China’s fresh food ecommerce trading volume reached ¥458.5 billion ($72 billion) in 2020, up 64% year-on-year and is expected to soar to ¥670.5 billion ($105 billion) this year.

Overall Beauty

Shaving Off the Excess: China Mandates Food and Cosmetics Firms to Limit Excessive Packaging and Lower Prices: China has issued new, stricter packaging regulations covering food and cosmetics products to prevent what has been dubbed the ‘excessive packaging’ phenomenon, citing a need to prevent unnecessary extra costs to consumers and impacts on the environment. The regulations apply to 31 categories of food including grains, edible oils, flavourings, meat, dairy, beverages, convenience foods, biscuits, canned foods, frozen beverages, snacks, confectionary, tea, alcohol, cocoa-based products and pretty much everything else. The 16 categories of cosmetics include liquid-based products for hair care and skin care, lotions, powders, sprays, waxes, toothpastes and virtually all other cosmetics.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Seniors Spending More on Travel: Older Chinese consumers, especially those who were born in the 1950s and 1960s, are increasingly opening their wallets to spend on high-end travel options, according to travel operators. More of them are planning trips by themselves and driving to reach their destinations. As of October, there was a 22% year-on-year increase in the number of customers aged 60 or older registered with Trip.com, with their travel booking jumping 37%. Their spending per capita has been growing faster than those born in the 90s and 2000s. A large number of elders travelled to places with no COVID-19 cases, such as Hainan province, and many booked photo sessions during the trips.

Video & Entertainment

China’s Elderly Have a New Obsession: Video Games: During the pandemic, seniors have emerged as China’s fastest-growing demographic of new gamers — and gaming influencers. There are now 45-57 million seniors who play video games in China, and this figure has roughly doubled since mid-2020. China’s total number of gamers only grew 10% during this period.

Designers and Fashion

What Global Consumers Want in 2022 Denim Jeans: Chinese consumers wear jeans as a fashion item, with fairly short wardrobe lifecycles driven by trend and seasonality. Chinese consumers own an average of 11 pairs versus 10 in the US. 61% of Chinese consumers shop for denim to keep up with the latest trends. Among 25-to-34 year olds, that number jumps to 72%. Chinese consumers’ top denim concerns centre around comfort (92%), fit (92%), and quality (88%).

Premium and Luxury

Louis Vuitton Faces Chinese Ire Over Refund Policy: Not long after Canada Goose was slammed for inconsistent return policies in China versus other countries, LV is now facing backlash offering a 30 days return policy in North America, versus a non-refundable policy in stores in China, and seven-days online.

3 Unexpected Luxury Growth Categories Coming to China: Fragrances, winter sports and ‘home living’ are expected to see strong growth in China’s luxury sector. With 90% home ownership in China, versus 65% in the US, Chinese are seeing their home as reflecting their social status and individual personality. 53% say their home meets their needs for sleeping and 52% for relaxing.