Shoppers from China are purchasing imported products not just at brick and mortar stores but lately also through online shopping, according to the latest research from global market intelligence agency Mintel.
It showed Chinese shoppers prefer Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) as top choices for imported goods.
“Along with rapid urbanisation and higher disposable income, Chinese consumers are now among some of the world’s biggest spenders. Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated while remaining influenced by the reputations of source countries,” explained Laurel Gu, research director of the research company, during the Mintel Big Conversation held yesterday in Sydney.
Mintel revealed that more than one in three (36%) Chinese consumers who have purchased imported products in the past six months have bought food products online from ANZ, including one quarter (24%) of those who have paid for food products online from Australia and 23% who have purchased the same online from New Zealand.
“We see a lot of growth opportunity for brands in Australia and New Zealand to target Chinese consumers. With Australia and New Zealand both having reputations for their strong focus on natural ingredients, food and drink companies could see great success by tapping into Chinese consumers’ healthy lifestyle, particularly within snacking occasions,” according to Gu.
Currently, however, when it comes to baby food and products, Chinese consumers are most likely to turn toward ANZ. New Zealand is seemingly a favourite for Chinese shoppers to purchase baby food and products from, with 22% of those who have bought imported products doing so online, followed by Australia (20%). Overall, one in three (33%) of those who have purchased imported goods have bought baby food and products online from ANZ.
While they are most likely to turn to Australia and New Zealand for their food and baby products, Mintel research indicated that alcoholic drinks are also popular purchase items. Around one in five (18%) Chinese consumers who have bought imported products have bought alcoholic drinks (including wine) online from Australia, followed by 11% who have bought clothing and footwear, 11% have purchased beauty and personal care products, 8% personal electronics and, finally, 7% have purchased household electronic appliances.
When considering top online purchases from New Zealand, 16% of Chinese consumers have bought alcoholic drinks, while 10% have purchased clothing and footwear, 9% beauty and personal care products, 8% personal electronics and 6% household electronic appliances.
Currently shoppers in China are most likely to turn to the internet to purchase imported products. Almost three in four (73%) Chinese consumers have bought imported products online from domestic shopping websites in the past six months, while 56% have purchased these items in-store within Mainland China.
Furthermore, Mintel research revealed that the total combined online cross-border e-commerce market in China, including Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer e-commerce, grew by a factor of 10 from RMB 53 billion in 2011 to an estimated RMB 626 billion in 2016, representing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 64%. From 2016 to 2021, growth is expected to slow to a still-strong CAGR of 15%, to reach a total value of RMB 1.3 trillion (RMB 1281 billion).
China’s neighbouring countries, including South Korea and Japan, are also popular online shopping destinations among Chinese consumers who have bought imported products in the past six months.
South Korea plays the lead for shopping in beauty and personal care (45%) and clothing and footwear (28%) categories, while Japan, because of its reputation for technical innovation and engineering excellence, is the most popular country among Chinese consumers to make online purchases for personal electronics (28%) and household electronic appliances (27%). Outside the Asia Pacific region, France is popular for alcoholic drinks, including wine (36%).
“While still strong, China’s Haitao market has nearly reached its peak because many foreign brands are now already established within the China market, selling either through domestic physical stores, or domestic online shopping websites. On top of product quality – something that is already associated with Australia and New Zealand – the key to grabbing Chinese consumers’ interest is convenience and customer service,” Laurel added.
“Brands in Australia and New Zealand could consider selling their products via China’s leading domestic shopping websites, providing Chinese-language customer service, offering fast delivery services, as well as implementing the usage of third-party payment systems.”
Finally, Mintel research indicated that it’s not just Australia and New Zealand’s products that Chinese consumers are excited about. One in four (24%) consumers in China have visited Australia or New Zealand, with 30% planning to visit the region in the next 12 months.
“Increasing outbound travel to Australia and New Zealand has resulted in Chinese consumers associating quality, safety and naturalness with the region. Because of this, manufacturers from these two countries are now in the sweet spot to capitalise on this interest by targeting Chinese travellers and leveraging their power to help build brand awareness through, for example, word-of-mouth promotion,” Laurel concluded.