Chinese Consumers Are Slowly Shifting Towards Self-Expression
The Chinese market has evolved rapidly since the last time I visited in 2012. While in China, I witnessed a slight shift happening in Beijing / Shanghai where Millennias are expressing themselves more freely and combining accents from their traditional roots to exhibit their unique fashion style. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, the shopping options in China are still quite limited. Beyond the strong presence of luxury brands, finding local designer brands that aren’t overpriced is a challenge. Chinese consumers also still struggle with finding legitimate businesses that do not sell fakes. The more adventurous / fashionable consumers will opt for scavenging through thrift shops to find unique garments that suit them.
The following growing trend is still juxtaposed with the label conscious consumer, who strives on showing-off their status. Chinese consumers are becoming more comfortable with speaking up and becoming more individual. The younger generations are slowly rebelling against the regimented, communal society which doesn’t allow for self-expression. The upsurge of Chinese punk bands combined with the rise of “Weibo” fashion bloggers and “Taobao” maniacs point to a potential westernization of China.
Although it may seem that China is becoming westernized, the Chinese still hold strongly to their cultural identity. China is a society which doesn’t reward individuality and instead values civil obligations. The Internet is helping the Millennials feel more comfortable with opening up. Opinion sharing site Dianping is rising in popularity with 1.2 billion monthly page views. The following sites enable Chinese Consumers to survey stores, restaurants, etc… Word of mouth and Social Media are helping Western brands get some access into the Chinese consumer.
While it is still a difficult Market to penetrate, the opportunities keep on growing. If you are interested in setting up shop in China, read my post on the subject.