The healthier, the better
The consumption upgrade in China is shown by growing pursuit for health, food safety and premium products. According to Nielsen, safety and healthiness are the two most important factors that influence the consumer purchasing decisions.
For example, World Instant Noodle Association has shown that instant noodle sales in China and Hong Kong dropped by 17%, from 46.2 billion packets sold in 2013 to 38.5 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, premium yoghurt’s are considered by the Chinese as beneficial for digestion and weight control. The market has skyrocketed by 206%, from 500 million dollars sales in 2010 to 15.5 billion dollars in 2016.
As the urbanization continues in China, the price is no longer as important as the quality and healthiness. The middle-class population is growing, the quality of life is improving, and young people are becoming the major consumers. Therefore, food professionals should seize this opportunity to adjust their marketing strategy according to this trend.
The Age of experimentation
A Multi-sensory experience is the new secret weapon for food products, packaging and in-store. This trend could be shown by chewy, or crispy elements in drinks or other surprising textures in baked foods to give consumers a whole new eating experience.
These trends allow consumers to share their experiences on their social media platform to show their lifestyle and individuality. For example, one of the hottest trend in China last year was the cheese tea, a drink made from Chinese tea with cream cheese whipped on top that gives a fluffy and light texture. People taking selfies to post on WeChat after 2 hours queuing, is a classic case of status purchase, where drinking a $5 cup of tea is almost secondary compared to the act of sharing the experience on social media.
The New Retail Era
This large number of mobile-connected individuals combines with its social, location and mobility characteristics has also led e-merchants to the development of online to offline business. The Avant-garde Alibaba pioneered the concept of “New Retail” in what Jack Ma explains as the pursuit of “the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.” Alibaba took its first steps into the brick-and-mortar space last year, deploying a series of physical supermarkets under the name of Hema Xian sheng (盒 馬 鮮 生).
These stores leverages data and smart logistics technology to seamlessly integrate online and offline systems with the aim of providing an unparalleled fresh food delivery service. Apart from Alibaba, other online retailers such as JD.com, Mei Tuan or Zhang Yu Sheng Xian also started to open physical fresh products stores.
The New Retail does not intend to replace e-commerce, but instead contributes to it by providing professional experience such as quick delivery fresh foods service.
Online retail technology and services are likely to take the retail industry to a whole new level to meet the growing consumer’s needs. Without a doubt, the next five years will be a new era in the new retail industry.