Insight around the world - China
VIVIEN DENG, CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR, CHINA, EPSILON
The consumer population in China is ever more complex in terms of sophistication, expectations of experience, attitudes, behaviours, spending power and priorities.The rapidly changing economy created by fierce competition and the macroeconomic environment, both domestic and external, make marketing constants very fragile today. It is critical for retailers to keep their fingers on the pulse to stay competitive and to last in this fast-changing marketplace.
The widely reported economic slowdown has not dented Chinese consumers’ confidence in the future nor their enthusiasm for domestic and overseas brands.
A more assertive China on the world stage has led to a mood of national confidence and self-awareness that is reflected in the attitudes of the consumers surveyed in our study ‘Rise of stylish Chinese consumers:Trust is key to build loyalty’.
Last year, we reported a shift in economic policy toward growing domestic consumption.This has continued at a steady pace and is reflected in a maturing of consumers’ habits and expectations.While outside China everyone talks about the slowdown of growth, the mood is different domestically.
People in China see greater choice, but they also have more exacting demands around quality and reliability. Occasional treats that had novelty value just a few years ago are becoming regular staples in the supermarket basket.
Consumers are shifting from mere earned status through the superficial value of luxury brands increasingly to the gratifying self-confidence endowed by the intrinsic value of products and the consumer experience. It is especially common among the rising population of the young middle class as a popular way to differentiating their lifestyle sophistication.
In the meantime, domestic brands are moving up the value chain and gaining global status. Overseas brands can no longer expect to be received with gratitude: they need to win the approval and respect of Chinese consumers.
Our study also found that there is no single universal definition of loyalty for consumers in China. Companies need to decide what loyalty means to them and the key value attributes for their target customers in China.They should analyse the loyalty they have already acquired and enhance it. Brands have to articulate the value-add within their offering.A purely demographic analysis of their customer base is no longer enough.