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Event Recap - Learning from the Locals: The Latest Advances in Consumer Thinking and Behaviour in China

13 June 2017

The latest advances in consumer thinking and behaviour were the topic of a roundtable session with Mr Andrew Kuiler, CEO, The Silk Initiative (Shanghai) on 13 June at International Chamber House. Andrew provided insight into key consumer trends and implications for brand owners; what Australian businesses can learn from local players; and how to keep ahead of the curve in China.

The retail and consumer market in China is becoming more and more competitive. Consumer thinking and behavior that dictate choice and future choices is constantly changing. In this environment, it is local companies who are gathering momentum and market share through innovative brand strategies and inventive and highly effective activation campaigns. As competition intensifies, it is clear that foreign brands will need to do more than just rest on their reputation for quality, clean, green and safe. They will need to go further in understanding the consumer and their rapidly changing preferences.

Andrew therefore identified a number of trends that businesses need to be aware of including:

  • Needs are evolving fast
  • Growth to lower tier cities
  • Trading up and increasing affluence
  • The search for quality experience
  • Connectivity and the rise of social commerce
  • China’s integration in the world

With regards to local players it is important to realise that the Chinese play on domestic heritage and provenance, meaning that while foreign credentials are good, ‘home-grown’ products can work. Chinese brands have been successful in utilising a deep understanding of cultural traits to their advantage, and have demonstrated the ability to shore up brand reputation by utilising Chinese celebrities and what’s hot in popular culture.

Andrew concluded his presentation by offering advice for after your brand has been established. He stressed that China is an ever-evolving market and that is very important to try to stay ahead of the curve. Businesses need to know their target market intimately; be willing to be nimble on strategy; and what out for trends such as rising nationalism and the role of social media.

ACBC Victoria kindly thanks Andrew for his highly engaging presentation. We also thank all those who attended and look forward to our next event.