China’s growing health and wellness market is poised to reach nearly $70 billion by 2020.
That’s according to the research of BCG, which says Chinese consumers are now amongst the most health-conscious people in the world, buying a wide variety of products to treat common ailments, boost their energy, and strengthen their immune systems.
The reasons for this growing trend are: rising incomes, the stress effects of urbanisation, an ageing population, and the country’s ongoing issues with food safety and quality.
“Chinese consumers often lack knowledge about health and wellness treatments and don’t trust their claims; brands are powerful, and their reputation matters; most consumers make final purchase decisions on-site; and although the Internet isn’t an important purchasing channel for vitamins and over-the-counter treatments yet, it is fast emerging as one,” said Carol Liao, a BCG senior partner.
“For manufacturers of health and wellness products, Chinese consumers present an increasingly attractive market,” adds another BCG partner Chun Wu.
“But before jumping in and committing valuable resources to secure a foothold, most companies are wrestling with a variety of strategic issues, such as which consumer segments to target, what products to offer, how city size affects consumer behaviour, and which distribution channels to use.”
“Companies seeking to make inroads in China’s highly competitive market choose their battlefields wisely, focusing on segments that play to any advantages in scale, brand strength, product efficacy, or expertise. Companies must also build their brands; educate and inform consumers; manage retail outlets aggressively; get ready for e-commerce – especially to sell vitamins and supplements; and understand the role that city size plays in consumer behaviour, BCG suggests.