The China market is the fastest growing – and therefore most exciting – market for international brands.
Let’s start with the fact that China is the largest online commerce center in the entire world. The country generates more sales each year than America, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Germany combined.
That’s right – combined.
With over a billion internet users, this is quite clearly a lucrative market for foreign brands.
The Chinese market bounced back remarkably quickly from the global pandemic, with e-commerce projected to reach $3 trillion by 2024.
Demand in China for international brands is incredibly strong, with Tmall reporting a 40% year-on-year increase in sales. Consumers are increasingly looking to foreign companies perceived as offering high quality products and services.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder China has become the most popular option for businesses looking to expand.
Here, we shine a spotlight on some of the fastest growing sectors in the China market. We’ll share everything you need to know if you want to capitalize on this phenomenal sales potential.
Fastest growing sectors in the China market
There are several growth opportunities in China. Health supplements, mom and baby, luxury products, imported food and education are some of the most exciting.
If you work in any of these industries, there’s a large and receptive Chinese market open to foreign brands.
Let’s take a look at each in turn…
Sales in health supplements, particularly immunity-boosting supplements and probiotics have soared over the last year.
The global wellness market (covering everything from wellness tourism to fitness, food, beauty and medicines) is valued at a staggering $4.2 trillion.
Health supplements are increasingly seen as the solution to modern consumers’ fast-paced lifestyles. This is especially noticeable in the Chinese market.
Particular opportunities can be found in sub-sectors such as sports nutrition and infant wellbeing. The rise in cross-border e-commerce allows consumers to experiment with new brands, making use of peer reviews and social media.
Changes to cross-border trading laws recently lowered barriers to entry to the Chinese market, which is great news for international businesses. So what are you waiting for?
Mom and baby
The China market growth for the Mom and Baby sector is astounding.
Changes in legislation have played a part, with the easing of the One Child Policy in 2016 and the introduction of China’s three-child policy in 2021. New legislation is accompanied by the growing household income of Chinese families.
Chinese families are now not only able, but willing, to pay a premium for high-quality goods. In 2020, the market size of mom and baby products surpassed one trillion yuan – representing an almost 10% year-on-year increase.
With health being so important in China, quality is crucial. Chinese families increasingly demand health-conscious and durable products with minimal ecological impact and additives.
International brands are perceived as high quality, reliable and safe. This represents a significant business opportunity, especially for those positioned in the premium sector.
Now this is a big one.
China’s young consumers are eager for bespoke luxury goods and experiences. According to research by Bain and Company, consumers in the millennial and under-25 bracket will form close to 70% of China’s luxury goods market by 2025.
These consumers don’t just care about the items themselves – they also seek out carefully curated, creative experiences. To them, luxury is more than just a product.
With the growth of social media, opportunities for international luxury brands are massive. China has over 970 million active social media users, with sales via WeChat and Douyin growing daily.
So how can you make the most of this?
Live streaming is a particularly popular option, as are co-branded collaborations and partnerships. With an in-depth understanding of the Chinese market, Karl Lagerfeld X Tsingtao Beer’s “Night Owl” collaborative campaign was immensely popular, as was Moschino’s “Year of the Ox” collection, complete with WeChat mini game.
By the end of 2021, China is estimated to have imported over $100 billion worth of food.
Pandemic lockdown restrictions have changed consumer behaviors. Now, more and more Chinese citizens are seeking out healthier foods. As a result, food products catering to the health market are booming.
The Chinese government is further backing this move, as part of the Healthy China 2030 initiative.
Brands in the “to-go” snacks, meal replacement and sports nutrition sectors are performing particularly well. The meal replacement subcategory (for example) is expected to grow by 30% this year alone; worth 120 billion yuan by 2022.
Imported food is held in high regard in China, so expect categories such as alternative milks (exemplified by Oatly and Minor Figures) to truly skyrocket.
Last but not least is the education sector. This continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in China with annual growth as high as 11%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The market for Chinese students studying abroad has boomed in recent years. With growing families and increasing globalization, Chinese parents are willing to spend a fortune on their children’s education.
This starts from an early age, with many parents hoping to send their children abroad to study. The British private schooling system is particularly popular, with Eton College, Stowe, Charterhouse and Harrow welcoming high numbers of international students each year.
As a result, the private tuition sector has witnessed massive growth. Undertaken online or in-person, many Chinese parents pay for supplemental lessons for their children outside of school hours.
While recent regulatory changes have raised questions for the Chinese private tutoring sector, this 120 billion dollar industry is still a lucrative market for international businesses.
Ready to launch into the Chinese market?
The Chinese market is an immense prospect for international brands. Witnessing unprecedented levels of growth across many sectors – it’s a vital area for any company looking to increase their sales.
At AdChina.io, we specialize in helping global brands achieve their sales potential in the Chinese market. Our innovative approach makes targeting Chinese consumers simple, transparent and affordable.Get in touch today to find out how we can help boost your sales and unlock what could be the biggest business opportunity in the world.