That is roughly the size of Germany’s consumer economy today, and more than one-fourth of all consumption growth in major economies. Those are among the key findings of a new report by AliResearch, the research arm of Alibaba Group, and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled Five Profiles that Explain China’s Consumer Economy, is being released today. the report identifies five emerging consumer profiles in China, which illustrate the ways in which macroeconomic and demographic shifts are playing out at a micro level. Here’s a sample of the profiles described:
• The Savvy Shopper. Consumers are far more brand-aware than in the past, and consumption boundaries (like age and gender) are disappearing. For example, Chinese men in tier-one cities now spend 24 minutes a day on grooming, and 88% access grooming and fashion information online—both measures are up significantly in the past decade.
• The Single Person. Because of demographic shifts, people in China are increasingly likely to remain unmarried.Among urban dwellers, 21% of people older than 35 are single, up from just 4% a decade ago. This trend means growing demand for different types of products, such as furniture designed for one-person apartments, smaller appliances, and food sold in smaller sizes and convenient packaging.
• The Ecoconscious Consumer. Chinese shoppers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and sustainability; they want their products to be good for them and good for the planet. AliResearch found that 66 million customers (16.2% of the consumers on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces) bought five or more green products in 2015, up from just 4 million in 2011 (3.4%). Just as important, these customers are willing to payhigher prices—33% more, on average—for sustainable products.
For consumer companies, tapping into these new profiles requires more accurately segmenting consumers,understanding their needs to ensure that new products and services resonate, and seamlessly integrating the customerexperience between digital channels and physical stores, among other priorities.