Changing Behaviour

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At last week’s ACSME webinar on “Changing Consumer Behaviour in China”, Mark Tanner of China Skinny covered a wide range of topics and made important observations gained from their local research, together with regular discussions with foreign brands about their China strategy during this Covid period.

The key conclusions from Mark’s excellent presentation were as follows:

  • The ‘digital divide’ between young and old has dramatically reduced to almost nothing. Older consumers have embraced digital online platforms when evaluating brands and making purchasing decisions and this is creating opportunities for foreign brands to deliver new marketing messages aimed at the “silver” market.
  • A new growth opportunity for foreign companies arises from a greater emphasis on “Reflection and Purpose” as an important factor in buying behaviour, especially amongst younger consumers who have also been suffering mental health issues (a relatively new condition in China). With the growth of live streaming, global experts and training providers in this area now have an opportunity to offer their expertise in the China market, and foreign brands are re-positioning their messaging to appeal to aspirational consumers seeking a higher purpose in their product choices.
  • Global geo-politics is having an impact on perceptions and brand choices. New Zealand, Japan and Germany are creating positive perceptions, whilst Australia, UK, Canada and USA are negative. Whilst there is no research yet to measure the actual difference between perceptions and actual buying behaviour, this is causing foreign brands from countries with a poor perception rating to rethink their messaging and play down their country of origin
  • It’s important and necessary to communicate all the time with distributors and local partners and to assure customers of your ability to meet their supply requirements, respond to new challenges, and be flexible and adaptable . Despite being unable to travel and meet in person, many foreign brands are finding that their chinese partners and distributors are reacting positively to zoom meetings and regular messaging on wechat etc.

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