Tag Archives: consumer

How fast is the Chinese market changing?

According to a recent McKinsey’s survey about Chinese consumers, Chinese have taken to consumerism with ease, embracing thousands of new products, services, and brands. Three findings stood out.

Even in the face of rising inflation, Chinese consumers are more confident this year than in 2010 about their financial prospects.

the survey shows that the number of respondents who choose to spend more—buying in greater quantities, more frequently, or more expensive items in a given category—is holding firm. Whereas last year’s survey showed that consumers offset higher spending in some categories by spending less in others, this year there appears to be much less rebalancing.

Among urban consumers, the number of first-time buyers—a group that has been a major driver of category growth in China—is declining. as so many products are now both available and within the financial reach of large numbers of consumers. Big variations in the importance of first-time buyers have opened up, depending on the category and geographic region. At the geographic level, the penetration of certain goods may be high in China’s more economically developed regions, but plenty of consumer-conversion opportunities remain in less developed ones, which the government has targeted for higher economic growth

 

Finally, although brand awareness is rising, we see little sign that brand loyalty is following suit. In fact, more and more consumers choose among a growing number of favorite brands. The survey shows the extent to which consumers value brands more than price or channel, largely because they believe that branded products are safer, of higher quality, and more reliable than nonbranded ones. But faith in brands still does not translate into brand loyalty. In fact, both the number of consumers who always choose from among a relatively small set of brands—whom we refer to as “repertoire loyalists”—and the number of brands in their repertoire continue to rise. The average Chinese consumer now chooses among three to five brands in any given category, compared with two to three brands two years ago. In some categories, such as apparel, where luxury brands have grown hugely popular, the contrast is sharper still.

To succeed in this environment, executives will need to understand where the growth prospects lie, both at the category level and in different geographic regions. Only then will companies be able to prioritize resources and tailor strategies appropriately, to strike a balance between building mass appeal and meeting the needs of specific consumer groups, to focus on perceived value rather than absolute price, to modernize marketing tools for the Internet age, and to embrace rapidly growing online sales channels quickly. Companies must have both the flexibility to adapt and the skills to innovate to keep in step with the Chinese market’s exciting development.

Chinese consumers are willing to pay for sustainability

We have already talked about China as one of the fastest growing markets in terms of customer awareness towards sustainability: Chinese do appreciate and search for sustainability.

A study released on April 18th by global advertising and international marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather answer to the question that our customers usually ask: “Do consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products?”. The study shows that the answer is “Yes, Chinese consumers are willing to pay a small premium for environmentally friendly products”, but they place responsibility to fix China’s environmental woes on the government.

Convenience is the main factor driving shopping decisions for more than half of the 1,300 Chinese consumers across China, but 71 percent said they would pay up to 10 percent more or higher for some “green” products.

“Within about a 15 percent price band, if two items have comparable brand image, people will go for the sustainable option,” Kunal Sinha, the lead author of the study and head of the company’s sustainability practice in China, told Reuters.

“But if you were going to sell it purely on its sustainability credentials, it wouldn’t fly,” he said, referring to the range of green products and sustainable behaviors covered in the study, from toiletries to food and vacations.

Shoppers were willing to open their wallets the widest for sustainably produced milk, at premiums of 17 to 20 percent, the study said, an indication of how severely scandals involving tainted milk have damaged China’s dairy industry.

The study noted large gaps between the sustainable behavior Chinese consumers profess to and their actual consumption habits, a trend that also exists in developed markets such as the United States.

One measure of their optimism: more than 90 percent of those surveyed said they thought the sustainability movement was growing. But fewer than a fourth or respondents said they felt empowered to solve environmental problems on their own, and instead looked to the government to fix the country’s environmental woes.

Chinese consumers have long been hesitant to loosen their purse strings, more so than consumers in other countries at a similar stage of development. But domestic consumption is picking up quickly and many analysts think it has reached a turning point.

That means Chinese consumers’ buying power may be out-pacing their green ethos. The survey said the concept of sustainable living is not yet mainstream, with respondents saying those leading the movement in China are seen as idealists.

Joel Backaler, a director at the consulting firm Frontier Strategy Group who blogs on Chinese consumption trends, says mainstream Chinese consumers are focused on aspirational purchases in the short to medium-term and will not begin focusing on green and sustainable consumption for years.

“The vast majority of China’s middle class are for the first time learning how to spend and join the consumption phenomenon that their counterparts in the U.S. and Western Europe have long enjoyed,” he told Reuters in an email. (Source: Reuters)

Preparing for the consumer economy of 2020

In a recent super session at Retail’s BIG Show, Ira Kalish, Director of Global Economics for Deloitte Research, gave an all-encompassing overview on the state of the global retail industry ten years from now, as well as his take on what the consumer of the future will look like.
Kalish kicked off with a run through of recent developments in global retailing, noting that it’s always useful to think about the future by reviewing the past.
In particular, Kalish highlighted some of the paths that lead towards the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 and the lessons that were learned from that crisis: massive consumer leveraging in the U.S., U.K. and Spain; the collapse of the asset price bubble; emerging currencies rising; U.S. consumers paying down debts and saving more; housing no longer being seen as a source of economic growth; China’s move towards consumerism and consumer spending rising as a source of GDP; and the challenges faced in Europe due to imbalances between countries like Germany and Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

As for what retailers can expect in the consumer economy of 2020, Kalish pointed to a number of challenges and opportunities retailers should certainly have on their long term radar, such as the massive increase in emerging middle classes and the disproportionate share of growth in emerging areas of the world like Indonesia, Colombia and Africa.

The effects of an aging population in an increasingly affluent world will also be a key consideration for retailers of all shapes and sizes, while hot markets with younger demographics (India, Middle East and Africa) will also keep global retailers on their toes.

Kalish also noted, the impact of obesity, changing global food market dynamics, an ever-increasing focus on sustainability and the possibility of a social media revolution could play a heavy role within the consumer economy of 2020.

So what can retailers do to prepare for this new consumer outlook? Kalish believes that aligning company values with those of consumers will be critically important, as will leading and listening to customers. Taking care of your brands, your people and your investments will also pay dividends when it comes to engaging with consumers, something that will be fundamental for 2020’s consumer – and not a bad idea for 2011. (Source: NRF)

When marketing and sustainability strategies are not aligned: the new trend among USA Food Retailers

We are just reporting the new trend among USA Food Retailers as in AzCentral.com.

“Phoenix-area coffee junkies who have grown immune to Starbucks' maximum 24-ounce jolt now can boost their caffeine intake by 30 percent without loading up on extra shots. About 280 Starbucks locations in the Phoenix area are now serving the new Trenta (Italian for 30) drinks and report they are catching on quickly….. Competitors McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts already offer 32-ounce iced coffee and tea drinks. McDonald's, an increasingly aggressive competitor of Starbucks, sells a 32-ounce iced sweet-tea drink for $1”

All comments are more than welcomed!