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Chinese consumers become more cautious under the epidemic

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China’s consumer market and consumers need time to recover.
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Under the joint effect of long-term trends such as development transformation, intergenerational change, technology penetration and the impact of the current epidemic, Chinese consumers are becoming more cautious and more willing to increase spending in the consumption field that brings long-term value – this conclusion comes from the “2022 Chinese consumer insights” series recently released by Accenture, a consulting company (hereinafter referred to as the “report”). This series mainly focuses on the overall situation of the consumer market and the sinking market, and conducts research and analysis in a quantitative and qualitative way.
In the past 40 years, China’s consumer market has developed vigorously. Since 2014, consumption has been the first driving force driving China’s economic growth for six consecutive years. In 2019, the per capita GDP exceeded US $10000, achieving a historic breakthrough; In the same year, the total retail sales of consumer goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, and China became the second largest consumer market in the world. In 2020, due to the impact of the epidemic, consumption increased negatively, but it still accounted for 54.3% of China’s GDP in the end, and the driving force to economic growth picked up quarter by quarter. In 2021, the contribution rate of final consumption expenditure to economic growth will be 65.4%, driving economic growth by 5.3 percentage points. Consumption has become the main driving force for the stable recovery of the national economy.
The new change is that as the growth of residents’ disposable income slows down, the consumption expenditure of residents shrinks, and the proportion of consumption expenditure to income – that is, the consumption tendency of residents – weakens, so the growth of total consumption slows down year by year. Affected by the superimposed factors of the epidemic, people’s risk awareness has increased and preventive savings have increased. In 2020, the consumption tendency of residents dropped to a historical low of 62%, and the per capita savings increased by 7500 yuan year on year. In 2021, the consumption tendency rebounded to 64%, but it was still lower than the pre epidemic level.
The report points out that with the improvement of people’s living standards and the expansion of the definition of value, consumers are increasingly pursuing quality, brand identity and experience in the purchase process while paying attention to functions and cost-effectiveness. The epidemic has prompted people to examine the significance of consumption, and people have begun to view consumption with an investment mentality – the value of goods or services is not only the current experience and enjoyment, but also the future return.
Five trends of consumption concept and mode
The survey results of the report show that in recent years, the consumption concept and mode of Chinese consumers have shown five major trends: “I” economy, New Rationalism, being the master of time, symbiosis with technology, and sustainable prosperity.
The “I” economy in the report refers to the increasingly obvious “self” consciousness of consumers, who pay more attention to their internal needs. With the popularization of intelligent devices and the in-depth and diversified development of e-commerce platforms, the original collective family decision-making began to be dismantled, and the decision-making power of family consumption returned to the individual. Each family member had a stronger influence on the goods he used, or directly obtained the decision-making power.
On the other hand, consumption becomes human
For large brands with deep brand accumulation and strong R & D and supply chain strength, in the extremely diversified and rapidly changing Chinese market, facing Chinese consumers who are proficient and willing to study commodity characteristics, in addition to making good products and meeting people’s real needs, they also need to pass on high-quality content through the information channels concerned by the target consumers, so as to have the opportunity to leave a deeper brand mark in each “research” and “comparison”, So as to accumulate brand awareness and ultimately achieve sales growth.
The trend keywords worth mentioning include “technology” and “sustainability”. The report points out that more consumers are eager for people-oriented technology applications and are willing to fulfill their green commitments. 70% of the respondents said they were willing to share personal data in order to obtain better services, while 50% of the respondents thought that the frequency of advertising was too high; Almost all Chinese respondents recognized the value of environmental protection and sustainable development, and 43% of the respondents said they were willing to pay a premium for environmental protection products.
The consumption demand of the sinking market needs to be further explored
Due to China’s large population, there are regional differences in disposable income and availability of goods and services, and there are significant differences in consumption tendencies among cities at different levels. According to the report, respondents in the third tier and below markets are significantly less willing to invest in savings / financial management, medical care / insurance, children’s education and sports and fitness than those in the first tier and second tier cities, while they are more willing to increase their spending in shopping, catering, personal education and leisure and entertainment than those in the first tier and second tier cities.
“We observed that the five major trends in the report also exist in different line level consumer markets. However, under the influence of some internal and external conditions, such as consumers’ own factors, including disposable income, disposable time, family structure and social relations, and external factors, such as the availability of goods and services, these trends show differences between cities.” Accenture explained to yimagazine.
For example, the trend of “new rationality” is very obvious in the sinking market, and its manifestation is unique. Compared with the first and second tier cities, consumers in the sinking market are more reluctant to be “moonlight clan”, more practical and more interested in comparison. On average, 59.8% of the personal / family income of consumers in the sinking market is allocated to daily consumption; 11.8% was used for asset investment and 28.4% was used for financial investment. 70% of the respondents said that the household daily expenditure accounted for more than 50%, of which food and beverage, clothing, shoes and hats were the main consumer goods, accounting for 62.8% and 74.4% respectively.
Interestingly, consumers in the sinking market are very willing to pay for their appearance. Nearly 80% of the respondents in the sinking market said that the appearance design of the products would stimulate their shopping interest. Price is no longer the first attraction factor, but beauty is the first.
The special features of consumers in the sinking market are also reflected in their attitude towards technical products. According to the report, compared with the survey data of Chinese consumers in 2017, the penetration and interest of smart home appliances have increased significantly. two thousand and twenty-one
Chinese consumers become more cautious under the epidemic
下沉市场的消费需求有待进一步挖掘
由于中国人口众多,可支配收入和商品服务的可获得性存在地域差异,不同级别城市之间的消费倾向差异显著。《报告》提到,三线以下市场的受访者对于储蓄/理财、医疗/保险、子女教育、运动健身的投入意愿明显低于一二线城市受访者,而在购物、餐饮、个人教育、休闲娱乐方面提高支出的意愿则高于一二线受访者。
“我们观察到,《报告》中的五大趋势在不同线级的消费市场中也同样存在。但同时,在一些内外部条件的影响下,比如消费者自身的因素,包括可支配收入、可支配时间、家庭结构和社会关系等,以及外部的因素,如商品和服务的可获得性等,这些趋势在城市之间呈现出了差异。”埃森哲对《第一财经》YiMagazine解释称。
比如,“新理性”这一趋势在下沉市场非常明显,表现形式独具特色。相比一二线城市,下沉市场消费者更不愿当“月光族”、更看重实用,且更热衷比较。平均来看,下沉市场消费者的个人/家庭收入中,59.8%分配在日常消费;11.8%用作资产投资,28.4%用作金融投资。有7成受访者表示家庭日常支出占比大于50%,其中食品饮料、服饰鞋帽是主要消费品类,分别为62.8%和74.4%。
有趣的是,下沉市场消费者非常愿意为颜值买单,近8成下沉市场受访者表示商品的外观设计会激发他们的购物兴趣。价格不再是第一吸引因素,颜值才是第一要义。
下沉市场消费者的特别之处,还表现在对技术产品的态度上。《报告》显示,对比2017年中国消费者调研数据,智能家电的渗透率和兴趣度大幅提升。2021年,超过6成的受访者购买过智能家电,其中一半的消费者经常使用。尽管下沉市场消费者也对同类产品表现出了强烈兴趣,但目前渗透率并不高。
《报告》指出,下沉市场不是中低端市场,企业必须用新的眼光看待这一“蓝海”。“随着新型城镇化进程的加快,居民收入水平的提高,以及渠道等基础设施建设的加速,下沉市场消费者对智能产品、服务类消费、绿色消费的需求将能得到进一步释放。”埃森哲对《第一财经》YiMagazine表示。


作者:陶紫东;来源:第一财经YiMagazine(ID:CBNweekly2008),转载已获得授权。
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