New Urban Chinese Consumers on Self-awareness Rising

August 21, 2017
Industry News
Content Provided By:

Kantar TNS
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Despite gloomy economic outlook, evidence has shown that Chinese consumer confidence remains resilient. However, how consumers spend and why they are spending has undergone significant changes in recent years. Distilled from our extensive experience interacting with consumers from all over China and clients with a variety of background, Kantar TNS presents you 10 prevailing consumer trends in urban China*.

Self-awareness Rising

The Chinese consumers are now more confident individuals – the sense of “self” is awakening as a result of western influence, modern lifestyle and material abundance. This shift in value and psychology has fuelled several consumer trends:

1. Something for “me”

As the basic needs are met and market offers flourish, big/well known/household brand is no longer enough. The new consumer is not going to settle with something every “common people” use, but something unique to set her/him apart from others. The first beneficiary of this consumer needs are premium and luxury brands, as price naturally gives these brands a sense of superiority. Recently, niche brands are gaining momentum. These small brands often come with innovative products addressing specific consumer needs to near perfection. More importantly, its niche identity helps the one who chooses it stand out.

How can brands leverage this trend?

  • Huge opportunities for emerging brands in traditionally household brands dominated markets, such as personal care and home care (Refer Picture1)
  • DIY, limited editions for big brands to constantly reinvent itself.
  • Increasingly imperative for brands to have a point of view or personality to engage consumers.

2. Small contentment

“How I feel is more important than what other people want me to be.”

Self-defined happiness takes over the traditional definition of success (i.e., wealth and status). As living standard reaches a certain comfort level, many people choose a relaxed and more balanced life over strenuous ladder climbing. This affects how people choose their career, how and with whom they spend their time. Some start to migrate back to lower tier cities. Freelancing, Bed & Breakfast, internet based small businesses are new career choices that allow people to have more control over their lives. More time is spent with family and loved ones as happiness and well-being gain more weight over pure financial success. Leisure hobbies are developed as there are more outside of work free time.

How can brands leverage this trend?

  • Brand communications speaking of a variety of happy lives, e.g., content at the present, self sustain vs. luxurious, life vs. work (Refer Picture2)
  • Leverage leisure occasions for consumer engagement, e.g., concert, art fair, weekend outing.

3. Self pampering

Modern lifestyle and western value is affecting how Chinese consumers see her/himself in relation to her/his family and the social world. The traditional value of conformity and “small me” is now challenged by the increased sense of “self”. “Although my family and social obligations are important, my own needs should also be taken care of.” If only you are good to yourself, you know how to appreciate life.

How can brands leverage this trend? (Refer Picture3)

  • Product innovations targeting “take a break” occasions.
  • Opportunities in products/services focusing on improving self/quality of life (e.g., spa, sports membership card, and hiring of personal trainer).
  • Tapping into self-reward/pampering in brand communications – the best ingredient/quality should be used when it comes to things for yourself and family.

4. Show time

The sense of “self” is manifested by Chinese consumers’ strong desire to be visible on social media. It’s a show time for everybody - not only 90s/95s are posting, so are grandpas and grandmas. Various social media provides just the platform for Chinese consumers to show their good way of life, their taste, their point of view. However, behind the obvious motive to show difference, also lies the desire for social approval: I post because everyone else is doing so. Thus “harmonized difference” is uniquely important to Chinese consumers on social media.

How can brands leverage this trend? (Refer Picture4)

Use design - brands with unique and stylish design are more likely to be shared on social media. It speaks about the taste of the one who posts it.

  • Humour and attitude travels on social media.
  • Popular public activities provides a good platform for consumer engagement.

About Kantar TNS
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