China has 725m urban dwellers whose household consumption will triple in the 10 years up to 2022.
This is just one eye-watering fact to come out of the China-Britain Business Council’s (CBBC) ‘China’s Middle Income Consumers’ report. It has been compiled through interviews on the ground across CBBC’s unparalleled network of 13 offices in China, and is supported by member interviews with key UK players in China: Burberry, University of Nottingham, Mintel, Savills and B&Q.
Exports of goods and services to China from the UK have already passed £1bn per month, but UK business must stay competitive and informed to access arguably the most important demographic in the world, researchers said. China is on a relentless drive towards a consumption-led economy, sparked largely by the trends of middle-income consumers, with new habits, fresh attitudes and eclectic lifestyles.
But it’s not a case of ‘just turn up and succeed’ for UK companies. Any developing market has a range of pitfalls for the underprepared. Don’t rely on ‘foreign or British’ brand superiority – have a clear message for China’s middle-income consumers and be aware that they are becoming less brand-led, less brand-loyal and more discerning. For these issues, clear advice and next steps are offered, as well as sector contacts for direct follow up.
Stephen Phillips, chief executive, CBBC, said: “This report takes many of the commonly known perceptions of Chinese consumers, looks beyond the headlines, and offers practical advice on next steps to succeed in China. It is essential reading for companies in the fashion, retail, automotive, real estate, tourism, education and healthcare sectors.”
The CBBC recommends retailers read this report to gain invaluable insights into the evolution of the luxury market, the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, the gigantic influence of social media, how travel and overseas spending have changed attitudes, what modern leisure and entertainment in China looks like, and what car and property ownership mean today compared to just a few years ago. Finally, the report also looks at the government-led push towards private healthcare and the continued desire for high-quality, overseas education.