China's Positive Energy: On the ground insights into Chinese consumers

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Chinese consumer confidence has been knocked but they are bouncing back. The key phrase heard throughout 2012 was 'Positive Energy'. What is this, and what does it mean for spending? patterns?

Chinese consumer confidence has been knocked but they are bouncing back. The key phrase heard throughout 2012 was 'Positive Energy'. What is this, and what does it mean for spending? patterns?

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  • 1. Positive Energy: 10 insights intoChinese consumer attitudes
  • 2. Asia 5 Bringing you a flavour of business trends in Asia...in just 5 minutes A Futures Coaching initiative www.futurescoaching.com
  • 3. stock marketThe Shanghai composite is down 25% from its 2011high. If the Chinese stock market is taken as the mostresponsive measure of social mood, we would expectChinese middle classes to be very negative right now
  • 4. consumer confidence This is confirmed by national statistics on consumer confidence which indicate a downward trend since 2007
  • 5. on the groundI was in Shanghai for the Expo in 2010 and things werereally buzzing – as I blogged about in Changing ChinaAnecdotally, people were: - smiling - walking with purpose - dynamic - asking whats new?But in December 2012, I founda slower pace and more tired,stressed faces
  • 6. cautiousIn a City of 23.5 million, people keep themselves tothemselves: - there seems little spontaneous social interaction - people stay in their shells and venture out only after the other person takes the initiative - prudence prevails – people keep close hold on their possessions - and their children
  • 7. fight backChinese social researcher Priscilla Sze confirmed thebleaker mood to me – people are more concerned aboutthe future and are reigning back on spendingDespite this, people are being encouraged to retain theiroptimism. The key phrase to be heard throughout 2012was: “POSITIVE ENERGY”
  • 8. pick me up Advertising plays a key role in this: the whole dynamic is so much more upbeat than in the West The happy faces and zingy colours would be seen as false in the sceptical, downbeat West. In China, they inspire people to reach for the stars.....
  • 9. statusStatus remains a huge driver of consumer spendingfuelling the luxury marketLinked to the reputation and honour of ones face andthe need to stand out in a population of 1.3bn, McKinseypredict the Chinese luxury market to top $27bn by 2015 –or some 20% of the global luxury market
  • 10. knocked offIn signs of a maturing marketplace, the Chineseincreasingly reject poor qualityIn many cases, this means favouring western brandsover localBut it also increasingly meansrejecting fake and false: consumerswilling to buy fake jewellery fell from31% in 2008 to a mere 12% in 2011
  • 11. experientialAs in the West, luxury is becoming more experientialBSG reported in 2012 that sales for luxury goods wereincreasing at 22% annually but this was bested by luxuryexperiences up 28%Private New Years Eve partieson the Bund seem as good away as any to spend money
  • 12. design & functionApples rise and rise suggest that the Chineseconsumer is willing to look beyond status andintroduce design and functional criteriaApple has positioned itself to represent more than just luxury– but the cult of western individuality through its designdifferentiation....and its working!iphone sales were up by 500% Q2 2011-Q2 2012; on themetro everyone seemed to be using one!
  • 13. AcknowledgementsData were drawn from Whartons Jan 2013 article: “Apples foray into China”
  • 14. If you liked this post...& want a once weekly injection of futures thinking Step 1 futurescoaching.typepad.com Step 2 Enter your email Step 3 Relax: a blogpost will soon be on its way LONDON • PARIS
  • 15. Futures Coaching in 2012Brand positioning for health products in SE Asia(German client)Future bank branch design & role (British client)Drill down to consumer attitudes & use of socialmedia (German client)In-depth report on the future of consumerhealthcare, 2020 (British client)Future of consultancy (British client)International growth strategy (Dutch client)Impact of technology on supermarkets (British client)
  • 16. Join Forces with Futures Coaching  Deep dive analysis on the future of sectors or industries – jumping ahead of the curve; achieving thought leadership; reducing marketplace risk  Conference speeches on major trends - accelerating management awareness  Workshopping trends – evaluating impacts on businesses or brands; future-proofing existing offers  Brainstorming sessions – innovating to harness growth  Training for consumer insight teams – boosting internal futuring capabilities