Whether you’re selling luxury customised water bottles or premium whisky from Scotland to Chinese consumers, the chances are Gen Z shoppers will make up a generous proportion of your customer base. Chinese consumers born between 1995 and 2010 now represent 15% of the country’s population and are the next-generation of big shoppers, ready and willing to engage with brands and part with their cash. In China, Gen Z consumers have lived through truly unprecedented economic growth, enjoying improved opportunities and higher standards of living than their predecessors. They were also born into the digital age, fueling the growth in ecommerce and leading to the meteoric success of apps such as WeChat and Weibo.
Below, we’ve put together some shopping trends that you should embrace to reach them…
Gen Z are omnichannel shoppers
Despite their close affiliation with social shopping, Gen Z consumers place great value in omnichannel experiences. Indeed, 40% of shoppers said that they browse clothing stores to touch and feel the products, before buying products online, demonstrating the real value in having a physical retail presence. As a small business looking to expand into China, this won’t always be possible, but exploring partnerships with larger stores and retailers could be the key to product and brand exposure. And as you grow your business in the country, you could even pivot from online-only to opening bricks and mortar stores, as many startups have successfully done, allowing you to satisfy the demands for omnichannel experiences.
Gen Z consumers are impulsive
According to a McKinsey study, Chinese Gen Z consumers are considered to be “optimistic and impulsive,” more likely to buy products on a whim than consumers in other territories. As a brand, tapping into that spontaneous trait can serve you well - you can feed on their desire for quality goods and encourage them to increase their average order value. 47% of those surveyed revealed that they buy products impulsively, so optimising your ecommerce store and app for additional transactions is recommended. Showcase as many of your products as possible, add a “Before You Checkout” banner to encourage additional purchases and make it easy for shoppers to edit their order before it ships to further boost their cart value.
Shoppers value unique products
Another trend that has exploded in China in recent years is the introduction of exclusive and limited edition products. They’re developed by brands to tap into consumers’ desires to buy something that their friends and family cannot afford or didn’t spot before it sold out. Even Apple is getting in on the trend, launching limited edition AirPods Pro to celebrate Chinese New Year. Want to get involved and generate additional sales for your business? It can be something as simple as Chinese-inspired packaging or a limited edition run of a t-shirt; subtle changes to your product can increase its appeal and drive traction. Research is mixed on whether consumers will pay a premium for limited lines, but what is certain is that they lead to more impulse purchases and encourage bulk buying to secure an exclusive product.
Online reviews matter the most
Just as they do in the West, online reviews and recommendations really carry their weight for young consumers in China. A good product experience write-up can nudge a prospect to part with their cash, so it pays to prioritise your customer experience from day one and ask shoppers to leave reviews and recommendations online. Indeed, 75% of Gen Z consumers said online reviews were one of the three most important sources of influencers when buying a product from a brand - but marketplace reviews don’t necessarily hold their value. Gen Z shoppers instead look to social media accounts of social brands to see how they interact with their audience and read bloggers and online influencers who recommend products.
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) have made online reviews all the more relevant. A positive write-up or brand mention from an influential figure can make or break a business, with 69% of Gen Z shoppers trusting KOLs as much as friends and family. Identifying the right KOLs to work with and offering them a fee for a product feature or review could significantly boost your market presence and sales. However, it’s important to weigh up the opportunity cost and realise that you cannot target every influencer or social media star on a limited budget.
Consumers are loyal to brands
Though companies must work hard to create brand awareness and build a following on Chinese social networks like WeChat and Douyin, once they have, consumers are generally more loyal than they are in the West. McKinsey found that 42% of Chinese Gen Z would choose a brand they know over a new one every time - which might sound like bad news if you’re a new entrant to the market, but you should instead see it as a challenge. Investing in customer relationship management is vital in order to capitalise on this trend. Unless you have an integrated marketing strategy that rewards and incentivises loyalty, you won’t get it.
Acknowledging these Gen Z shopping trends will help you make more informed decisions when marketing your products and services in China. If you need a hand developing a digital marketing campaign designed to tap into the country’s growing Gen Z consumer base, let the team at Zudu help. Call us on 01382 690080 today to discuss your project in more detail.