This week’s news and trends in China:
Imports, Foreign Labels Popular Amid Consumption Upgrade: Consumers aged between 26 and 35 account for nearly half of purchases of imports and foreign brands according to a report by JD and the Industry Development Research Institute. Those aged between 46 and 55 spent 283% more on these products in 2021 than 2019. Senior shoppers favour food, beverages, clothing and adult beverages. Tier-1 & 2 cities accounted for 55% of sales of imported consumer goods, although sales to rural areas grew 174% from 2019 to 2021.
Report: Rural Incomes to Double by 2035: The per capita disposable income of people in Chinese rural areas is expected to more than double to reach ¥42,800 ($6,340) in 2035, and increase to over ¥100,000 ($14,830) by 2050. China’s urban-rural income ratio will drop to 1.8 in 2035 and 1.2 in 2050.
Duty-Free Market Fuels China’s “Dual Circulation” Growth: The duty-free business in China is essentially a form of high-end retail in China. The country’s 14th Five-Year Plan proposes developing the duty-free market with China expected to account for 65% of global duty-free consumption growth by 2025. The December 2018 policies have been updated, increasing the duty-free quota from ¥30,000 ($4,450) to ¥100,000 ($14,830) a person a year, increasing the variety of commodities from 32 to 45 and increasing cosmetics purchase limits from 12 products to 30 items, among other changes.
China’s City Dwellers Endure ‘Extreme Commutes’: More than 90% of Chinese cities monitored had a decreasing percentage of people who worked within less than five kilometres from their home. Consumers bemoan that extreme commutes are eating up leisure time. 30% of residents in Beijing have at least 60 minutes of travel time to work, versus 18% in Shanghai, 15% in Guangzhou and 12% in Shenzhen. 17% in Chongqing and Tianjin, 14% in Wuhan and Chengdu and 11% in Hangzhou.
Investors Pressure UV Protective Gear Maker Beneunder to Downsize HK Listing: In 2021, Beneunder collaborated with more than 600 influencers, who helped the brand generate a total of 4.5bn page views. Austin Li – who endorsed Beneunder’s umbrellas, jackets and sun hats during live streams, describing them as “essentials.”
A Fashion Exhibition in Shanghai Puts Sustainability Front and Centre: More than 30 environmentally conscious artists and designers joined forces at “CanU,” an exhibition in Shanghai that aimed to educate, engage, and empower people about sustainability in fashion. Recent research found almost 90% of the participants said they wanted to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, yet only about 50% had actually done so.
Why Experience, Story and Video Are Key Sales Drivers in Chinese Cross-Border Commerce: Amazon positions itself on speed and convenience, with fast conversions and short visits, while Tmall takes a slower, more drawn-out approach designed to entice customers with a wide variety of choices. The immersive experience in China is where video and multiple product shots become important. 59% of respondents want to purchase unique products, while the same percentage want products that match their sense of style, so it pays for sellers to be brave, bold and focused on building a brand that stands out.
Cainiao Promises More Doorstep Deliveries in Year Ahead Across China: Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao was impacted by last mile challenges during recent lockdowns, but the company has pledged to revamp its service for international merchants, including more logistic centres in Malaysia, Belgium and Hong Kong, with merchant-tracking features added. A year ago, Cainiao guaranteed doorstep deliveries for all purchases made on Tmall Global and Tmall Supermarket. Repurchase rates have increased 30% since.
9 Ways To Sell In China: Tips For Ecommerce Marketers: A 101 guide for brands about to start their ecommerce journey in China.
Top Japan Chefs Group to Open Japanese Cuisine Theme Park in China: A group of 34 top Japanese chefs are collaborating with Bright Food to open a theme park in Shanghai as part of efforts to further popularise Japanese food culture in China. The partnership will also involve producing television programs to promote Japanese food culture, building a factory to produce processed food for Chinese consumers, and advancing food-related trade through the introduction of specialty products from Japan.
Hog Cannibalism Clip Spotlights Grim Plight of China’s Pork Producers: A 23-second Douyin clip titled “Pigs Eating Pigs” on a farm run by a leading Chinese pork producer has seen a stock sell off. The hogs hadn’t been fed in eight days. Cannibalism is not rare in industrialised farming where animals are tightly packed together, but strict controls on filming usually keep such incidents from the public eye.
China Sees Rapidly Growing Coffee Market: Coffee shops are seen everywhere in China, such as within post shops, gas stations, and even pharmacies. China is home to nearly 160,000 coffee-related enterprises, with an average of 20,000 emerging on an annual basis in the past five years. As of May 1 this year, a total of 117,300 coffee shops were operational across the country, and the number kept increasing despite impacts from Covid.
Chinese Grocery Delivery Firm Missfresh Collapses, Owing $148 million: Tencent-backed online grocery start-up Missfresh has shut down its on-demand distributed mini-warehouse service, which offered on-demand delivery services from smaller-sized warehouses close to residential neighbourhoods, accounting for 85% of its revenue. It will continue its second-day delivery services, intelligent fresh market business and retail cloud business. The company raised approximately $1.5 billion in private funding rounds.
China’s Moms Are Banding Together and Speaking Out: On the one hand, Chinese society expects women to conform to a strict, highly intensive mode of parenting; on the other, residual stigmas from the socialist era mean committing to full-time motherhood is looked down upon as a lesser choice, and not a full-time job. Growing numbers of women are seeking refuge with their peers, through “mom groups” dedicated to providing mutual support for working and full-time moms alike.