The rise of new life and work patterns is affecting the consumption patterns and habits of Chinese consumers. On September 15, PricewaterhouseCoopers released the 2022 Global Consumer Insight Research Report on China (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"), pointing out that under the new normal of the consumer market, consumers' thinking and behavior have undergone profound changes, and Chinese consumers have become more conservative in their consumption of non necessities.
The report shows that in the first half of 2022, the consumption expenditure on groceries will increase significantly compared with that of last year, and 44% of Chinese consumers expect to increase their expenditure on groceries in the next six months. While the sales of cosmetics and other non rigid demand categories declined, it is estimated that with the release of curbing consumer demand, jewelry, luxury goods and other categories will recover in the second half of the year.
However, consumers will not lower their requirements for quality. PricewaterhouseCoopers believes that Chinese consumers need safe, cost-effective and efficient channels to purchase necessities. Live video shopping provides consumers with a way to save time and cost, while community group buying should have long-term sustainability, and enterprises need to think deeply about commodity selection, quality assurance, cost control, etc.
Chinese brands are becoming more and more attractive to local consumers. In addition to supporting the local economy, it is also based on the consideration of shorter delivery time, ease of purchase, and higher quality. According to the survey, compared with last year, 45% of Chinese respondents said they preferred to buy domestic brands, an increase of 10 percentage points, while the number of respondents who did not care about domestic brands or foreign brands decreased.
Consumers also pay more attention to the ESG participation of retailers and brand names. "Governance" is considered to be a more influential factor than "environment" and "society". 50% of respondents are willing to pay a higher average price to buy products with traceability and transparency, 47% are willing to buy customized or customized products, and 45% are willing to buy products made of recyclable, sustainable or environmentally friendly materials.
Zhong Xiaoyang, partner in charge of sustainable strategy and operation of PricewaterhouseCoopers China ESG, said: "Sustainable consumption is expected to become a subversive force and an important value driving force. While Chinese consumers are attracted by ESG conscious brands, socially conscious consumerism will continue to grow. They are eager to take corresponding actions according to the brand's performance on ESG, or buy their products to support them."
It is worth noting that the rapid development of virtual reality (VR), 5G, Web 3.0 and blockchain (currently collectively referred to as the "meta universe") is bringing new improvements to the retail experience. Among the Chinese consumers interviewed, 36% said they had used virtual reality helmets to play games or watch movies or TV programs in the past six months, and 23% had purchased digital products or non homogenous tokens (NFT).
From an enterprise perspective, Ye Min, the partner in charge of PwC's Chinese consumer market industry, believes that "the traditional business model will no longer be effective, and planning a new path of sustainable growth is unprecedented important for brands and retailers." Peng Chao, the partner in charge of tax services in the Chinese consumer market industry of PricewaterhouseCoopers, suggested that the enterprise should establish an operation mode that matches the needs of business development for a long time from the perspective of business strategic positioning.