Category

Japanese household and consumer goods retailer Muji has announced price reductions in the Chinese market for the 11th time in 5 years. This time, it is bedding and stationery categories that are expected to see decreases of 36% and 50%. Click for more…

INSIGHT & IMPLICATION: Starting from 2018, Muji started to experience decline in China, which continued to 2019 Q1 with the negative growth of 3.9%. Since 2013, local brands like YOUPIN, YEATION and MINISO have successfully encroached the market by Muji-like design and lower prices. What made the situation even more severe for Muji are product quality scandals in 2017 and 2019 as well as the changing mindset of Chinese consumers who are increasingly being interested in value provided by brands that go beyond the country of origin. This is why international brands have to understand the communications and marketing approach based on the country of origin is not enough anymore for increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers who are now returning to their own cultural roots through China Tide (Guochao, 国潮) and now have expectations similar to developed markets. International brands should rethink their approach through understanding their target audience better and consider how they can build stronger and more meaningful differentiation that will resonate with Chinese consumers long term.

Consumer

According to market research and investment company IYIOU, 83% of pet owners in China were born in 1980s & 1990s. 79% of them keep pets to fulfill their emotional needs such as having a pet to keep them company and help deal with the daily life pressure. Click for more…

INSIGHT & IMPLICATION: It is a common assumption by many brand marketers that millennials are primarily “happy-go-lucky” consumers interested in fun and entertainment, but they often neglect the key motivations behind this kind of behavior. This consumer group is also the one that harbors a strong feeling of loneliness and, with the increasing life pressures, entertainment is used as a tool to hide the anxiety they suffer from. Brands should understand what life challenges Chinese millennials face and consider what their role can be in alleviating these anxieties to build a deep and more meaningful connection with them.

Culture

According to a report by China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts and short video platform Douyin, 44.7% of Chinese parents encourage children to study fine arts outside school. 69% of teenagers in China pay the first visit to the art museum between age 4 and 12 and 67% of visit museums more than twice every year. Click for more…

INSIGHT & IMPLICATION: Attaching more importance to art education show the pursing of aesthetics, which is not only about appearance but also a lifestyle. Consumers have higher standards and expectations for the quality of their lives and this reflects in their choices of brands and products. Brands should consider about how to leverage more sophisticated aesthetics in product design and incorporate these in their marketing and communications strategy in order to convey emotive brand messages that will help build deeper connection and engagement with their target audience.

Media

The number of daily active users (DAU) on China’s social commerce platform RED (Xiaohongshu) has declined 100 million in June to 72.8 million in December. The primary causes for the drop of user number are content controversies in 2019 H1 and subsequent app removals from Apple’s App Store and China’s Android stores. Click for more…

INSIGHT & IMPLICATION: Although RED reappeared in China’s app stores after 4 months, the content scandal had caused significant reputation damage to the platform. To alleviate this, RED launched a new back-end data system, live streaming platform and online marketing tool to facilitate the commercialization and cultivation of content creators. Brands should continue keeping their eye on the platform and understand what role it can play in the communications strategy, but they should also be cautious due to the possible halo-effect of the platform’s damaged reputation and carefully follow the consumers’ perception. Brands now have other options for content seeding, including Douyin, Kuaishou and Taobao Livestreaming – all of which have significantly improved user experience, content quality and have not been subjects to controversies as RED.

Have a great weekend!