Chinese consumers want healthy, instant, individualized products, reveals report

By Chen Liubing |
Updated: Aug 28, 2018
CTR Market Research unveils the latest trends in consumption, advertising and media development in China at its 15th CTR Insight Summit in Beijing, Aug 27, 2018. [Photo provided to]

As China's economy maintains a steady growing momentum in the past year, fast-moving consumer goods sales in the country increased 4.5 percent from June 30, 2017, to June 30 this year, indicating a continuing consumption upgrade in the country, according to a market trend report released by CTR Market Research in Beijing on Aug 27.

The report showed that Chinese consumers want healthier, instant, and individualized goods.

According to Jason Yu, general manager, Greater China, Kantar Worldpanel, Chinese consumers value both outer appearance and inner function and quality of products. For instance, more customers chose healthier beverages such as soy milk and soda water in the past year, and focused more on cosmetics ingredients, with squalane and nicotinamide their new favorites.

Jason Yu, general manager, Greater China, Kantar Worldpanel, speaks at the summit. [Photo provided to]

At the same time, instant and high-efficient products witnessed rapid growth. Sales of high-end instant noodles grew 20 percent during the past year, while that of concealer skyrocketed 92 percent during the same period. Besides immediate effects, quick purchasing channels are also luring more buyers, as small supermarkets saw 5 percent increase in customer visits, while the frequency of purchasing vending machines rose 26 percent.

Individualized products are winning more customers, and e-commerce platforms are the driving force behind the push to promote those niche brands.

The CTR research also revealed that opinion leaders, stars and idols remain strong influencers of new products, with success of social shopping app Xiaohongshu (or Redhome) a perfect example.

Social networks have become new platforms of consumption, as 20 percent customers purchased fast-moving consumer goods via WeChat last year, according to Kantar data, and 340 million active users of e-commerce app Pinduoduo used group purchasing on their social networks, revealed the group's prospectus.

Panel discussion hosted by Xu Lijun, managing director and executive director of CTR Market Research. [Photo provided to]

"The boundaries of purchasing channels are fading out," said Yu. "Some channels themselves have become powerful media to grab attentions of customers." Coffee tycoon Starbucks and Eleme delivery cooperated to offer new experience of coffee delivery; pop-up stores trigger fun offline experience; supermarket plus catering services such as Alibaba's Hema Fresh store have created a whole new scene of consumption...all these are successful trials worth noticing, said Yu.

Besides, online sales jumped 30.3 percent in H1 2018, while 57 percent of consumers purchased goods both online and offline, indicating an omni-channel purchasing trend.

As consumption evolves, CTR suggests brands to reconsider the relations between brands and consumers, to reexamine the ties between social contact and purchase, and redefine the value that a brand could bring to customers. Cross-scene communication and omni-channel integration capacity are key in building perfect consumption experience, said the consultancy.

Besides consumption trends, CTR Market Research, a joint venture between China International Television Corporation (CITVC) and Kantar Group, a leading data, insight and consultancy company, also unveiled the latest trends in advertising and media development in China at its CTR Insight Summit.

It is the 15th consecutive years that CTR Market Research held the Insight Summit, with 500 attendees from media, corporate, and advertising agencies attending the summit. It will also go to Guangzhou and Shanghai this autumn for more releases.