Periphery is a digital marketing agency that connects companies to new markets, strategies, and opportunities. The most significant opportunity is how we help our clients connect with Chinese-language audiences (both locally and internationally).
Consumer insights allow our agency to develop a broader perspective for more informed, thoughtful, and strategic decisions.
This research can do the same for everyone. Decision-making is paramount in any business, and context is key to making sound business cases and client recommendations.
This piece will share 3rd party resources that explore Chinese consumer insights. Every question you have about marketing to Chinese consumers (or any consumers), can be answered by understanding them. This list is a great starting point to learn about Chinese consumers before your next campaign.
What To Expect In This List
Research from consulting firms, insights from news publications, and reports from major NGOs. Naturally, we take no responsibility for what is published by these authors.
The resources below are recent (2018 or later). Reports are in two groups: before COVID-19 and after COVID-19 (predictions and forecasts). We found the latter group especially interesting (although slightly premature in some cases).
You’ll see below there are some reports saying consumers are spending more, and others that suggest the opposite.
These differences are important to know because of how they can create bias.
We create Chinese-languages campaigns, but we also can’t ignore research that suggests spending is down. It’s important our clients remained informed of the good and potentially bad, so we can plan accordingly.
That’s the value of good research. Always complete your due diligence, review diverse sources, and look for patterns, not absolute statements.
Chinese Consumer Insights Published Before COVID-19
These reports include insights from extensive research reports, news publications, and blogs from companies like ours and professionals who work in the industry.
- McKinsey & Company: How Young Chinese Consumers are Reshaping Global Luxury
This PDF report offers an overview of China’s emerging young consumers and their effect on the global luxury market. Published in April 2019.
- Chinadaily.com: Chinese consumer trend shows instant purchasing habits
This article is an overview of a report published by the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau of the People’s Bank of China, detailing the financial habits and literacy of the Chinese consumer. Published on August 1, 2019.
- Deloitte US: Chinese Imported Consumer Goods Market Report
This PDF is a detailed overview of consumption trends, consumer groups, consumer interests, and the structure of China’s growing consumption of goods. Published on October 31, 2018.
- Marketing To China – Male shopping trends
A detailed overview of the behaviour and spending habits of male Chinese consumers, as well as effective marketing strategies. Published on September 26, 2018.
- LinkedIn Pulse: Modern Chinese Consumers. A Handy Guide for Marketers 2019
This guide is a detailed overview of the spending habits of Chinese consumers, divided by generation and economic standing. The author: Ashley Galina Dudarenok is an industry expert who brings an “in the trenches” perspective with her insights. Notice any matches with what big firms like Deloitte are writing? Published on December 6, 2019.
- The New York Times: China’s Spenders Are Saving. That’s a Problem for Everyone.
This article is an overview of the effects of China’s slowing economy on the saving and spending behavior of Chinese consumers. It’s a contradictory view, which is what makes it worth sharing. Published on October 2, 2019.
- Forbes: What Chinese Consumers Want From Western Retailers (Hint: It’s Not Just Fashion And Technology)
This article is an overview of Chinese consumer spending trends on foreign-made essential items such as groceries. It was written by a retail analyst and offers an interesting perspective from someone working in the industry. Published on May 18, 2018.
- South China Morning Post: China’s consumer spending on services and in smaller cities to pace growth, e-commerce
This resource provides insights into Chinese spending from within smaller cities on essentials and its contribution to economic growth during the first three quarters of 2019. Published on December 12, 2019.
- Dragonsocial.com: Chinese Consumer Behavior: 7 Key Features For Brands To Know
This blog post offers an overview of the disposable income accumulated by China’s middle class, generational spending habits, and consumer behaviour. Published on July 16, 2019
- QZ: How WeChat Put the Internet in China’s Hands
This article details the history of the internet’s rise in China and argues that WeChat is the main reason behind this. Details include how this has influenced spending (mobile especially), and what this means for the future. Published on October 29, 2019.
- Bain & Company: What’s Powering China’s Market for Luxury Goods?
This article describes the factors contributing to the significant year-over-year increases in Chinese consumers purchasing luxury goods. Insights cover the role of millennials and the expanding middle class. Published on March 18, 2019.
- Goldman Sachs: The Rise of China’s New Consumer Class
This report does not post the date of publishing, so forgive us if it’s not as recent as we mentioned above (it’s worth reading anyway). The details cover the growth of the middle class and present a dramatic difference in scale when comparing working populations in China with the USA. The description of the different economic segments is very clear (make sure to click the downward arrow when looking at the skyscraper.
- Walk The Chat: China Digital Luxury Report 2019
This report describes details according to the luxury market industry from the perspective of a software company that works with such brands.
Chinese Consumer Insights Exploring the Future after COVID-19
- EMarketer Content: Coronavirus’s Impact on Consumers and Businesses in China
This article is a detailed overview of the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese consumer spending habits on travel, online delivery, digital media, and smartphone sales. Published on February 26, 2020.
- McKinsey & Company: Cautiously optimistic – Chinese consumer behavior post-COVID-19
This article is a high-level, detailed overview of Chinese attitudes towards a post-COVID-19 economy, consumption of personal goods, and trends for online sales. Published in March 2020.
- South China Morning Post: Four coronavirus-driven Chinese consumer trends that will last even after the epidemic has subsided
An overview of the effects COVID-19 has had on Chinese spending behaviour, particularly on essential physical goods versus optional goods. Published on March 4, 2020.
- World Economic Forum: How coronavirus is changing what Chinese consumers buy
A detailed overview of surveyed Chinese consumers and their intended spending habits in a post-COVID-19 economy. Published on April 15, 2020.
- JingDaily: Consumer Sentiment Will Define a Post-Coronavirus China
A detailed overview of the psychological effects of COVID-19 on Chinese consumers, and the resurgence of spending on luxury items and local business after the outbreak. Published on February 19, 2020.
- S&P Global Market Intelligence: E-commerce drives China’s stay-at-home economy in coronavirus aftermath
A detailed, high-level overview of the shift to e-commerce among China’s consumers in the grocery market as well as the beauty and fitness markets. Published on March 23, 2020.
- Kantar US Insights: Measuring the impact of the coronavirus on China’s consumption
A detailed summary and survey of the effects of COVID-19, by industry, on China’s consumption of various goods and predictions for the consumption of various goods post-outbreak. Published on February 23, 2020.