If brands and consumers are questioning whether this rapid enhancement can continue, then research predictions will show a conservative outlook that sways towards the answer being no.
Mintel reported that the economic development and social change that has been enjoyed for several decades is now slowing and the population is re-thinking its priorities to adapt to the new China.
The ‘New China’ in 2017
This year’s buzzwords will be ‘ancient’ and ‘old’ as consumers remain increasingly concerned about job security, health worries and environmental pollution.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), product claims including the word "ancient” on packaging increased by 56% in the first half of 2016 across all new product launches in China’s beauty and personal care and food and drink and categories.
“Cautious optimism and careful planning will be watchwords in 2017. Brands will have to offer consumers more than just convenience, but also more future-planning and support, and increasingly emphasise their ethnical and cultural authenticity,” said Delon Wang, Manager of Trends APAC at Mintel.
“Worries about health, pollution and reliability gives brands the opportunity to pivot their products and services, catering to consumer mindsets,” added Wang.
“Across all sectors including the beauty industry, the search for value will be a key component when consumers make a purchasing choice, especially due to reticence in consumer spending.”
Sparking new ideas
Increasingly, consumers are also turning to entrepreneurship to source new revenue streams to protect themselves against potential detrimental changes in the economy.
As such, consumers are getting involved in the selling economy and value subscriptions as monthly or annual membership is the traditional payment model in the fitness and beauty sectors.
According to Mintel’s research, over half of middle-class consumers claim to have enjoyed the benefit of getting a bonus for recharging their card when going to gyms and sports centres (52%) and beauty and hair salons (56%).
Middle-class consumers appear to be the key demographic when it comes to brand loyalty as (68%) are more likely to be loyal to brands they like, compared to overall consumers (50%).
“Market leaders and innovators that leverage on their brand’s reliability while going through the process of unlearning and relearning stand to perform,” Wang went on to say.
Futuropolis: Preparation begins
Although consumers are cautious, the nation is forging ahead with necessary city rebuilds and environmental repairs using smart and intuitive technologies.
The Internet of Everything is rapidly entering people’s homes as smart devices help to serve the ageing population.
Outside physical space is also having a revamp, as dynamic urban areas now house pop-up stores, while traditional retail shops evolve to keep up with city life.
“Efficiency, sustainability and ergonomic design will be key areas driving future city design,” said Matthew Crabbe, Research Director of APAC, Mintel.
“China’s cities will be the focus for innovations in new building design, integrated urban planning, new transport and vehicle adoption, use of delivery drones and integration of online into retail, leading to smaller, more community-based stores,” he added.
The second part of this interview with Delon Wang, Manager of Asia Pacific Trends, Mintel, will be published on 11th January.