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‘Tidal change’ ahead in Chinese consumer trends

Covid-19-induced changes in consumer behaviour could prove a new tidal change in the direction of China’s influence, according to new research by market intelligence agency Mintel.

The report suggests that mass self-quarantine, caused by the outbreak, will leave an indelible shift in how Chinese consumers – and through the country’s influence, Asia-Pacific – behave going forward.

The research shows that most consumers across Asia-Pacific are active online while they have extra time on their hands, suggesting that brands can use live stream, online, and interactive ways to engage with their customers at home.

According to the data, three-quarters of consumers across Asia-Pacific agree that they find themselves wanting to learn more about things than they used to, including information on brands as well as social issues – creating an opportunity for brands to offer authoritative expertise. Elderly people, previously reticent to shop online, are now coming to terms with the technology.

Mintel has pointed out distinct benefits to both consumers and brands in having consumers’ time, technology, and attention. In China, the group has seen live-stream presentations by chefs, gym instructors, club DJs, real-estate agents, new movie releases, performers, farmers, auto dealers and retailers.

“Even while online shopping has been boosted, and food delivery carries on (despite delivery restrictions), will the slow-it-all-down zeitgeist lead to a furthering of the shift towards consumers seeking more meaningful experiences, rather than just accumulating things?” Mintel asked in a statement. “Based on Mintel’s 2030 Global Consumer Trends, we think so.”

The group advises that just as in wartime, brands need to keep marketing their products and services while innovating their strategy through changes in the consumer market, including the effect of the epidemic.

As China now begins its economic reboot and supply chains regain traction, Mintel contends that we will witness a reconfiguration of industries into new consumer behaviours.