What Chinese Shoppers Really Do But Will Never Tell You

August 18, 2012

When Chinese shoppers purchase most consumer products, they typically choose among several brands instead of showing loyalty to a specific brand. Winning shoppers in this environment is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers. Success rests on understanding actual shopper behaviour—what they do at the point of sale as opposed to what they say they’ll do in surveys.

Bain & Company partnered with Kantar Worldpanel to study the shopping habits of 40,000 Chinese households. Our study helped us gain invaluable insights into how shoppers make purchases in 26 important consumer goods categories (see Figure 1).

Among the key findings:

In most situations, as shoppers buy more frequently in a category, they also tend to buy more brands in that category. We call this repertoire behavior,
While repertoire behavior prevails in China, there are a few product categories where shoppers are more loyal – they repeatedly buy one brand for a specific need or occasion.

For brands in repertoire categories:

• Brands are important to Chinese shoppers—even if they don’t think about one brand frequently.
• Your brands’ heavy shoppers are likely to be your competitors’ heavy shoppers.
• It’s not about what shoppers think about your brand, it’s about making them think about you in the first place.
• Complement “below-the-line” marketing with “above-the-line,” linking your brand with specific occasions and needs.
• Focus on building scale in priority regions
• Asking shoppers what they want won’t help you win them over.

For brands in loyalist categories:

• Shoppers tend to stick to their preferred brand for a specific need or occasion, So it is first critical to recruit new fans in well-defined, targeted segments.
• Devote resources to highly targeted marketing initiatives and public relations events to build brand preference.
• Make sure that fans can easily find your brand in the store.


Why Blockain Took Off (in China) :

Of Chinese Football Fans, Social Media and The Last Mile Consumer Experience :

The Magic of New Retail in China :

The Blue Ocean of Voice Assitants in China :


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