Archive for ‘Consumer’

18/03/2016

Here comes the modern Chinese consumer – McKinsey & Co

Despite concerns about economic growth, the country’s consumers keep spending. Yet our latest survey reveals changes in what they’re buying and how they’re buying it.

Cooling economic growth, a depreciating currency, and a gyrating stock market are making political and business leaders concerned that China’s economic dream may be ending. Yet Chinese consumers remain upbeat. In fact, consumer confidence has been surprisingly resilient over the past few years as salaries have continued to rise and unemployment has stayed low.

 

However, our latest survey of Chinese consumers reveals significant change lurks beneath the surface. Reflecting 10,000 in-person interviews with people aged 18 to 56 across 44 cities, our 2016 China consumer report found that the days of broad-based market growth are coming to an end. Consumers are becoming more selective about where they spend their money, shifting from products to services and from mass to premium segments. They are seeking a more balanced life where health, family, and experiences take priority. The popularity of international travel is astounding among Chinese consumers, as is their adoption of trends such as mobile payments. And despite many similarities, consumer behavior can vary significantly among the country’s 22 city clusters.

In short, our latest research suggests we are witnessing the modernization of the Chinese consumer, and that will only make the market more challenging for consumer-goods companies. But for those able to get it right, the rewards may be substantial. In this article, we’ll examine the evolving behavior of Chinese consumers through three lenses: how willing they are to spend, what they are buying, and where they are buying.

How willing they are to spend

When asked about their expectations regarding future income, 55 percent of consumers we interviewed were confident their income would increase significantly over the next five years—just two percentage points lower than in 2012. (By comparison, just 32 percent of consumers in the United States and 30 percent in the United Kingdom agreed with the same statement in 2011.)

That’s not to say that Chinese consumers are unaware of the deteriorating condition of the economy. A growing number are seeking to save and invest, and we found differences in consumer confidence widening at a regional level. While confidence about income growth during the next five years rose to 70 percent in the Xiamen–Fuzhou city cluster, for example, it decreased to as little as 35 percent in Liao Central.

What they are buying

We found that consumers are generally becoming more selective about their spending. They are allocating more of their income to lifestyle services and experiences—over half plan to spend more on leisure and entertainment (the 50 percent surge in box-office receipts in the past year is just one indicator of that trend). At the same time, spending on food and beverages for home consumption is stagnating or even declining.

Chinese consumers are also increasingly trading up from mass products to premium products: we found that 50 percent now seek the best and most expensive offering, a significant increase over previous years. It’s no surprise that the growth of premium segments is outpacing that of the mass and value segments, and foreign brands still hold a leadership position in that premium market. What’s more, a rising proportion of Chinese consumers focus on a few brands, and some are becoming loyal to single brands. The number of consumers willing to switch to a brand outside their “short list” dropped sharply. In apparel, for instance, the number of consumers willing to consider a brand they hadn’t before dropped from about 40 percent in 2012 to just below 30 percent in 2015.

Becoming part of the closed set of the few brands that consumers consider, or even the one brand that consumers prefer, is increasingly challenging. Fewer consumers are open to new brands, and promotions are becoming less effective at encouraging consumers to consider them.

With a few notable exceptions, such as Huawei’s growing share of the premium-smartphone market, Chinese brands have not gained much traction in many premium segments, such as skincare, cars, sports, and fashion. That contrasts starkly with the mass segment of the market, where local brands are winning market share from foreign incumbents by offering a much stronger product proposition.

Where they are buying

Although China is the world’s largest e-commerce market—generating revenue of about 4 trillion renminbi ($615 billion) last year, around the same as Europe and the United States combined—and consumers increasingly purchase online, physical stores remain important. Consumers engage with brands both online and offline, and satisfaction with physical stores remains higher than with online ones. But the gap is narrowing, especially as satisfaction with hypermarkets declines.

One trend that is helping maintain interest in physical stores is “retailtainment.” Two-thirds of Chinese consumers say that shopping is the best way to spend time with family, an increase of 21 percent compared with three years ago. Malls—which combine shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences the entire family can enjoy—have benefited most from this trend, at the expense of big-box retail outlets such as department stores and hypermarkets.

Consumers also reinforce family ties through travel: 74 percent of consumers say it helps them to better connect with family, and 45 percent of international trips were taken with family in 2015, compared with 39 percent in 2012. More than 70 million Chinese consumers traveled overseas in 2015, making 1.5 trips on average, and shopping is integral to this experience. Some 80 percent of consumers have made overseas purchases, and nearly 30 percent actually base their choice of a travel destination on shopping opportunities. Among international travelers, around half of their watch and handbag purchases are made overseas, while apparel and cosmetics are the most frequently purchased categories.

Overall, Chinese consumers are adopting new products, services, and retail experiences at rates unseen in developed markets. To take one example, mobile-payment penetration in China went from zero in 2011 to 25 percent of the population in 2015. At the same time, there are still differences in how Chinese consumers in various regions spend. While new highways, high-speed-rail links, and mobile Internet access have strengthened connectivity between neighboring clusters over the past few years, we found that differences across the country’s 22 geographic clusters1have grown even more pronounced. For instance, 35 percent of consumers in the Shanghai city cluster have purchased apparel online in the past six months, compared with just 4 percent of consumers in the Chengdu city cluster.

The Chinese consumer is evolving. Gone are the days of indiscriminate spending on products. The focus is shifting to prioritizing premium products and living a more balanced, healthy, and family-centric life. Understanding and responding to these changes in spending habits will be decisive in determining the companies that win or lose, whether international or domestic competitors. And while scale, speed, and simplicity proved advantageous in the past 15 to 20 years, the changing shape of Chinese consumption seems sure to topple some giants of the past and elevate new champions. Which will your company be?

Source: http://www.mckinsey.com/Industries/Retail/Our-Insights/Here-comes-the-modern-Chinese-consumer?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1603

06/11/2015

India’s Consumers Are World’s Most Confident – India Real Time – WSJ

India might be facing a slow recovery, but consumers aren’t deterred, putting the country at the top of a confidence survey of major economies.

India came first for consumer confidence among 61 countries in the July-September period in the online survey conducted by New York-based research firm The Nielsen Company.

The country’s positive reading, which measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions, comes at a time when confidence declined in eight of the 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Indian consumers continue to declare a resilient outlook in the face of uncertainty in the broader economy,” said Roosevelt D’Souza, senior vice president, Nielsen India Region.

Despite weak economic indicators, a poor monsoon and volatility in the job market, Indians’ belief in the fundamental prospects of the country’s economic future appear unshaken and the proportion of consumers who see brighter days ahead are growing, Mr. D’Souza said.

The Indian central bank’s softer interest rate regime and lower inflation are also likely to brighten the prospects of further improvement in consumer confidence, the survey shows.

This might be good news for the economy and consumer goods companies, who reported slow growth in their revenues for the past few quarters because of lower purchases by rural consumers.

China, India’s bigger neighbor and the world’s second-largest economy, ranked ninth in the survey, while the U.S. occupied second place.

The U.S. showed the biggest quarterly improvement of 18 points in the consumer confidence index, but China showed a decline of one point. Its economy has been racked in recent months by an unexpected slowdown and stock market rout.

Other Asian countries that found a place in the top 10 are the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand.

Source: India’s Consumers Are World’s Most Confident – India Real Time – WSJ

07/05/2015

Why China’s consumers will continue to surprise the world | McKinsey & Company

China has an awesome consumer story. Yet lately you can’t pick up a newspaper, go online, or watch television without hearing continual moaning about the country’s slowing economic growth and the need for “rebalancing.” The reality is that Chinese consumers are going to continue to increase in wealth and complexity. And if you’re worried the country’s economic importance is declining, you’re probably looking at its performance the wrong way.

Don’t worry about consumer spending as a percentage of GDP

As in most developing Asian economies, China’s early growth was based on savings, investment, and exports. You get your population to save, move to the cities, work in factories, and make stuff. This is sold, and cash is brought back home for investment. Plus, you get some foreign investment as well. This process enabled China to develop its infrastructure largely with its own cash. That, by the way, is not the norm. Developing economies typically borrow from foreigners and then default—for example, American states such as Mississippi and Florida were chronic defaulters on foreign debt as they initially developed.

One of the downsides of this investment-first approach is that it makes consumption look small and often like it’s shrinking. Chinese consumption decreased from approximately 51 percent of gross domestic product in 1985 to 43 percent in 1995, 38 percent in 2005, and 34 percent in 2013. By comparison, consumption is around 61 percent in Japan and about 68 percent in the United States. In fact, China’s small and decreasing consumption percentage is one reason why people keep talking about “rebalancing”—the need for the economy to become driven more by consumer spending than investment and exports.

Our position? Don’t worry about this stuff.

First, from 2000 to 2010, the size of the Chinese economy more than doubled.1 So consumption grew from around $650 billion to almost $1.4 trillion. Regardless of its relative percentage of GDP, China’s consumption has been growing faster than just about any other country’s in absolute terms. Second, just getting consumer spending back to 43 percent of GDP, the level in 1995, would have a huge impact on “rebalancing.” It would also create the largest consumer market in the world. Third, most of these numbers are wildly inaccurate. Consumer spending is nearly impossible to measure in such a big, complicated economy. Combining a vague number with two other big vague numbers (investment and net exports) is very fuzzy math. Until economists start putting uncertainty estimates on their China calculations, relative percentages aren’t worth paying much attention to.

Household income is what matters, and it’s great

The number you really want to keep in mind is household income. You can’t have consumption without income. And here’s where it gets really awesome. China’s household income is huge. It is now likely above $5 trillion a year. Plus, lots of income is unreported, so this is really the lower boundary for true household income. Developing economies—especially the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China—are frequently grouped together, but Chinese consumers dwarf all the others in terms of household income (Exhibit 1).

Rising discretionary spending is the exciting part

Discretionary spending is buying the stuff you like but don’t need. Or you only sort of need. And, fortunately, people seem to have an endless appetite for everything from entertainment to skiing to caffe lattes. Chinese citizens are now moving beyond being able to only afford the basics of life, and their discretionary spending is taking off. Growth in spending on annual discretionary categories in China is forecast to exceed 7 percent between 2010 and 2020, and growth of 6 to 7 percent annually is expected in a second category of “seminecessities.” Both of these categories are growing faster than spending on actual necessities, which are expected to grow around 5 percent a year, about the same as expected GDP growth (Exhibit 2).

Finally, an important related issue is the Chinese tradition of saving. If we compare spending and saving rates across the emerging markets, we see a spike in savings in China. That spike is fairly understandable. First, it’s cultural. Second, they are precautionary savings—no social safety net means if you get sick, it’s all on you. Third, Chinese savings are not unique. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan all hit 30-percent-plus savings rates in their early development. And fourth, without much of a consumer-finance system, it’s tough to use debt to hit truly spectacular consumption levels. After all, a vacation home or car may cost the equivalent of a year’s income.

That’s our rant on China’s macro consumer situation. Basically, we believe it remains a great story. It may be volatile. It’s also somewhat unpredictable. But you just don’t get a consumer growth story this good anywhere else.

via Why China’s consumers will continue to surprise the world | McKinsey & Company.

24/02/2015

Retail dilemma in India – nice malls are few and far between | Reuters

A severe shortage of attractive malls has made setting up shop in India easier said than done, crimping expansion plans for both foreign retailers such as Lacoste and domestic giants like department store chain Shoppers Stop (SHOP.NS).

A private security guard stands guard inside the premises of the MGF mall in New Delhi February 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India’s searing heat, heavy traffic and cluttered pavements make malls the most popular option for urban middle class consumers looking for a day out. But many centres – despite having been built in the last decade – are struggling to draw shoppers or retailers because of poor design or because they are difficult to manage.

P.S. Puri, CEO of MGF Mall Management, which runs MGF Metropolitan, knows this all too well. Located in a posh district in the south of New Delhi, security guards and sales staff outnumbered shoppers last Tuesday evening in what was once a bustling mall.

It has restaurants but lacks popular attractions like a food court and a cinema. The sale of shop ownership piecemeal has made management difficult and now only one quarter of the space is occupied by fashion retailers – about the same amount that is vacant.

via Retail dilemma in India – nice malls are few and far between | Reuters.

03/11/2014

In China, Foreign Car Makers Find It Tough to Keep Buyers Happy – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Volkswagen VOW3.XE -0.44% and General Motors GM +2.01% make many of China’s bestselling cars. But a survey of new-car purchasers suggests Chinese drivers aren’t always satisfied with what they drive off the lot.

The report, issued Friday by consulting firm J.D. Power, shows the German auto maker posted improvements for its locally made cars compared with a similar accounting a year ago. Still, it continued to rank relatively low for its locally produced cars compared with other foreign and domestic brands that drivers find acceptable. Chinese car buyers had few gripes with imported Volkswagens.

Meanwhile, models of GM’s Buick and Chevrolet didn’t appear on the list at all. That means both scored below average in the survey, J.D. Power said. A J.D. Power representative told China Real Time that Buick is showing signs of improvement compared to last year but Chevrolet remains flat.

In the market for high-end cars, Volkswagen’s Audi NSU.XE +0.62% brand also didn’t appear in the survey, meaning it performed below average but showed a marginal improvement over last year according to J.D. Power.

GM’s Cadillac also ranked below average, but is showing signs of improvement compared to last year, the J.D. Power representative said.

A spokeswoman for Volkswagen in China said the company does not comment on survey results. GM could not be reached immediately for comment.

“Audi stands for quality, which is proven by our customers’ direct feedback to us and their continued loyalty,” said Martin Kuehl, Audi’s spokesman in China.

The survey underscores the challenges of satisfying Chinese car buyers. Many of them are first-time buyers with high hopes for their new wheels, and who auto makers want to service when they go looking for their second car.

Mei Songlin of J.D Power says the performance may be explained in part by the perceptions of Chinese consumers, who widely believe foreign cars to be of higher quality. “Their expectations are sometimes too high and when they encounter any issue they can’t accept it,” he says.

For VW, the report comes amid increasing scrutiny in China. Last week the German auto maker’s China chief, took to the media to convince Chinese consumers its Sagitar brand was safe. That followed a recall of more than half a million VW cars in China, including Sagitars, for problems related to rear axles.

In an interview in September, GM’s China head, Matt Tsien, said quality was is one of the top priorities for the company. “We’re proud of the quality of the products that we offer. We have, year on year, continued to improve our quality and will continue to do so going forward,” he said.

The survey was based on evaluations by more than 21,000 owners of cars bought between October last year and June and was conducted in more than 50 cities throughout China between April and August.

via In China, Foreign Car Makers Find It Tough to Keep Buyers Happy – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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05/09/2014

Alibaba’s Taobao, Tmall Transform Shopping in China’s Small Cities – Businessweek

Li Yuxin remembers when she had to travel from Zhangjiekou, her northern Chinese home town, to visit her half-sister in Beijing so she could buy the right clothes. Sure, Zhangjiekou has large shopping malls full of cheap t-shirts and baggy jackets, but not stores where the aspiring fashionista could purchase accessories from such foreign luxury brands as Prada (1913:HK) or even popular Western sportswear made by Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADS:GR).

Checking deliveries from online marketplaces Tmall and Taobao at an express delivery company in Beijing

But since she started ordering clothes from Taobao and Tmall—websites owned by Alibaba Group—her options and her wardrobe have dramatically expanded. “Maybe I spend too much money now, but I have to catch up with Li Zhu,” her half-sister who lives in China’s capital, she says.

E-commerce has quickly changed the face of shopping and consumer marketing in China. Mirroring the rise of Amazon (AMZN) in the U.S., the ascendance of Alibaba in China has greatly accelerated this trend and turned China into the world’s second-largest e-commerce market.

via Alibaba’s Taobao, Tmall Transform Shopping in China’s Small Cities – Businessweek.

25/07/2014

Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ

By some measures, China’s Internet dwarfs that of the United States.

China has the world’s largest Internet population with 618 million users, well over twice as many as in the U.S. China also has the world’s largest online retailing industry, with e-commerce giants like Alibaba that sprawl far larger than the likes of eBay EBAY +1.08%.

But a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute argues that enterprise use of the Internet is still lagging in China and that the country’s businesses will need to catch up in this area to unlock economic gains.

“The Web is just beginning to penetrate many Chinese businesses – and the most sweeping changes are yet to come,” said the report, which was published this week.

MGI estimates that increased adoption of Web technologies like cloud computing and big data by China’s enterprises can add 0.3 to 1.0 percentage points to China’s GDP growth rate. By 2025, it could translate to annual economic gains of between 4 trillion yuan ($645.5 billion) and 14 trillion yuan, the research firm said.

China’s Internet has outpaced the U.S. among consumers. Alibaba’s online shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall have nearly twice as many active buyers than the U.S. site eBay. Jonathan Woetzel, one of the MGI study’s authors and a partner of the firm, told The Wall Street Journal that Chinese consumers spend more time shopping online and make more purchases than their American counterparts.

“China’s consumer generation has shown up at the same time as the Internet,” he said. “They have the money, but the offline shopping platforms like malls haven’t been built up fast enough to accommodate their expectations and needs. So more of them shop online.”

But when it comes to China’s businesses, they still lag in use of Web technologies, he says. The typical Chinese company spends 2% of revenue on IT, half of the international average, according to an MGI survey of CIOs. The enterprise cloud adoption rate in China is 21% compared to 55%-63% in the U.S.

Some sectors that stand the most to benefit in China include the financial services, health care and automotive industries, MGI says. Big data can help financial firms manage risks and reduce non-performing loans, while remote monitoring of chronic diseases can save costs for the health care industry.

via Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

11/07/2014

Flipkart Fights to Keep India E-Commerce Lead Over Amazon – Businessweek

In 2007, when Indian software engineers Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal were starting their online bookstore Flipkart.com out of a two-bedroom apartment, they faced a challenge Amazon.com (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos never had: how to collect payment. At first the two, who aren’t related, accepted credit cards, but because few Indians use them, they needed a way to conduct e-commerce in cash. Payment-on-delivery was the obvious solution, but Flipkart didn’t want third-party couriers to carry large quantities of its money. So in 2010 the company decided to remake itself as a version of both Amazon and United Parcel Service (UPS).

A courier for Flipkart finishes loading his backpack as he prepares to deliver packages at a distribution hub in Bangalore

Becoming a delivery service brought a slew of infrastructure problems. India has no standardized street address system, and road conditions are rough. Often a building name, street, and series of landmarks are needed to locate a house. And customers have to be home to receive a package. “You cannot leave anything outside the door, because it will just disappear,” says Ashok Banerjee, Flipkart’s former vice president for logistics, now chief technology officer for e-business at Symantec (SYMC) in California.

The entrepreneurs looked at distribution as a technology problem. “The advantage we had was we were not a logistics company trying to do e-commerce,” says Mekin Maheshwari, head of human resources. “Because we were creating the systems completely in-house, we could actually solve it.” With venture funding from Tiger Global Management, Flipkart’s engineers developed systems to determine the best warehouse locations; it has six across the country. It alerts customers by text several hours before a scheduled delivery and has a lab dedicated to improving the final stage of deliveries, from local warehouses to buyers.

via Flipkart Fights to Keep India E-Commerce Lead Over Amazon – Businessweek.

08/07/2014

Car maker Tesla sued in China for trademark infringement | Reuters

U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) is being sued in China for trademark infringement, a surprise development that casts a shadow over CEO Elon Musk‘s ambition to expand rapidly in the world’s biggest auto market.

A Tesla Motors logo is shown at a Tesla Motors dealership at Corte Madera Village, an outdoor retail mall, in Corte Madera, California May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Tesla said in January that the trademark dispute between it and Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng – long seen by analysts as a barrier to Tesla’s entry into China – had been resolved. The car maker began delivering its Model S sedans to Chinese customers in April.

But Zhan, who registered the “Tesla” trademark before the U.S. company came to China, is now taking Tesla to court, demanding that it stop all sales and marketing activities in China, shut down showrooms and supercharging facilities and pay him 23.9 million yuan ($3.85 million) in compensation, his lawyer Zhu Dongxing said on Tuesday.

The Beijing Third Intermediate Court will hear the case on Aug. 5, according to a statement on the court’s website. Tesla China declined comment. Zhan declined to be interviewed.

The case underscores one of the thorniest problems faced by foreign firms in China. Global companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Koninklijke Philips NV (PHG.AS) and Unilever NV (UNc.AS) have all been embroiled in trademark disputes in the country in the past.

Zhan, who claims ownership of the “Tesla” trademark, has long been a headache for the Palo Alto, California-based car maker and in part contributed to Tesla’s belated arrival in China.

Based in China’s southern province of Guangdong, Zhan registered the trademarks to the Tesla name in both English and Chinese in 2006. He had in the past sought to sell the label to the U.S. company but negotiations collapsed.

In January, Veronica Wu, head of Tesla’s China operations, told Reuters the company had resolved the trademark dispute that had prevented it from using “Te Si La”, the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, which Tesla wanted to use in China.

Zhan’s current lawsuit, however, brings new uncertainty to Tesla’s fate in China, which the firm had expected to become its biggest global market next year.

Apple Inc was embroiled in a similar case for years before reaching a $60 million deal last year for the rights to use the iPad trademark in China.

via Car maker Tesla sued in China for trademark infringement | Reuters.

08/07/2014

Chinese ‘customers’ at IKEA?

Do have alook at these actual photos: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=chinese+asleep+IKEA,+2014&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=E-67U4HSDoHX7AadmYGQCg&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=1360&bih=850

Ikea Shenzhen China

Ikea Shenzhen China (Photo credit: dcmaster)

And from: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1300942/ikea-last-cracks-china-market-success-has-meant-adapting-local-ways?page=all

“On a recent Saturday afternoon, Ikea‘s flagship mainland store – one of the world’s largest – is abuzz with people. Walkways guiding visitors from one showroom to the next feel more congested than the road outside, and almost all 660 seats in the canteen are occupied. Yet the lines to the cashiers are refreshingly short – most are not here to shop.

The store is gripped by a kind of anarchy that would rarely be seen, or tolerated, in its country of origin. There are picnickers everywhere – their tea flasks and plastic bags of snacks lining the showroom tables. Young lovers pose for “selfies” in mock-up apartments they do not live in. Toddlers in split pants play on model furniture with their naked parts coming in contact with all surfaces.

On a king-size bed in the middle of the largest showroom, a little boy wakes from a nap next to his (also sleeping) grandmother. When the old woman casually helps the boy urinate into an empty water bottle, dripping liquid liberally on the grey mattress under his feet, most passers-by seem not to mind or even notice. The exception is a young woman who elbows her disinterested boyfriend: “Look, he’s peeing into a bottle!”

Most endemic, however, is the sleeping. After a few, rare clear days, the city’s notorious heavy smog has returned, and is made worse by a sticky, dusty heat wave striking northern China. Weeks earlier, a photo of people napping in a Shanghai shopping centre to escape the searing heat went viral, but in the capital, it is Ikea’s cool, conditioned air that is salvation for tens of thousands of its inhabitants.

The bedroom and living room sections on the store’s third floor are the most popular. Virtually every surface is occupied by visitors appearing very much at home. Older people read newspapers or drink tea; younger visitors cuddle or play with their phones. Most, however, are sound asleep.”

 

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