The current situation of B2C market in China

Nowadays, there are 840 million online shopping users in China, with online retail sales reaching 13.1 trillion yuan and e-commerce cross-border imports and exports amounting to 1.92 trillion yuan. China’s e-commerce is the number one in the world in terms of online retail market, number of online shoppers, digital logistics services and mobile payments. So, for foreign brands, China is a huge and attractive market.

Consumption habits of Chinese consumers

The unique nature of the Chinese market lies in the special consumption habits and decision-making process of its consumers. Considering the differences in social and shopping platforms, digital marketing in the Chinese market must be fully understood and mastered.

It is worth noting here that Chinese consumers, especially B2C consumers, rarely use official websites to purchase goods.

Le parcours d'achat d'un consommateur chinois

First of all, consumers “run into” a product on various social platforms, or search for it directly on their usual platforms using keywords. In China at the top of the consumer decision-making process are usually social platforms such as Xiaohongshu/ Little Red Book

A large number of young consumers pursuing quality of life gather on this platform and lead the consumption trend in China. This is due to the large amount of authentic product sharing, KOC and KOL, user interaction and product reviews offered by the platform.

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Besides Xiaohongshu/ Little Red Book , short videos and live streaming are also very powerful marketing methods that Chinese consumers are fond of.

For example, Douyin/ TikTok China and Kuaishou (another popular video / live streaming social platform) target China’s largest middle-class consumer market, using information flow to accurately promote and efficiently position brands and products in the minds of consumers.

Secondly, because Chinese consumers are often exposed to counterfeits and fake foreign brands, they are very cautious about new imported brands. When they come across a new brand, they often immediately start to search for information and reviews about the brand and then infer its reliability accordingly. At this point Baidu (click for more information), as the largest search engine in China, plays a big role. The search results on Baidu directly influence how Chinese consumers position the brand: whether it is imported, whether it performs well, and how to buy it.

For some young people, WeChat is also an important search tool. The brand’s official WeChat account is very important at this point. Since Chinese users are not used to purchasing directly on brand’s official websites, in China a good brand’s official WeChat account is equivalent to the brand’s official website. On the WeChat official account, it is not only possible to post any brand-related content, but also to provide customer support service and organize events.

Finally, after running into the product and then trusting it, the Chinese customers will move on to the purchase step. In addition to offline shopping in physical stores, they find online shopping to be convenient and secure. There are many shopping platforms in China, but for foreign brands, Tmall International (owned by the alibaba group) is a great choice. It has in fact been trusted by Chinese consumers and it offers many promotional shopping festivals.

In addition to Tmall International, Jingdong International has been embraced by Chinese consumers thanks to its excellent logistics system and reliable quality, and is supported by an increasing number of imported brands.

How should B2C brands market in China?

Identify your target audience

Before developing a B2C marketing strategy to attract customers, it is important to understand the brand’s prospects in the Chinese market, the characteristics of Chinese consumers, as well as their preferences, browsing and consumption habits, and then segment them. This process helps brands to adjust their marketing direction and approach, and choose the right marketing platform to target consumers and convey the right message.

Competitors analysis

Before marketing, foreign brands must be able to answer the following questions: Who are their competitors in China? What are the differences between their respective products or services? How do the competitors market their products? This research can help each B2C brand to find their own strengths and weaknesses, and to leverage the strengths in the subsequent marketing process.

Choose the right B2C marketing channel

Chinese people have their own social and shopping platforms, with special browsing and spending habits. If you want to do B2C online marketing in China, you must start by recognizing the most valuable online platforms.

Xiaohongshu/Red (Red Little Book): Xiaohongshu is the most popular sharing platform in China, with 200 million users, of which up to 60% are women. Most of them live in big cities in China and pursue a quality and fresh lifestyle: beauty, skincare, maternal care and infant care, fitness, pets, food and fashion, etc. Xiaohongshu also has its own shopping section, and many new B2C brands use Xiaohongshu directly as the main marketing platform for their brands.

Xiaohongshu also has its own shopping section, and many new B2C brands use Xiaohongshu directly as the main marketing platform for their brands.

WeChat: WeChat, which has recently announced new rules, has reached 1.299 billion monthly active users and is the most powerful social tool in China. In addition to chatting and payment functions, it can also be used to share life (similar to Instagram), shop, browse articles, search for keywords, watch videos, and even open stores.

The marketing content of a company’s official WeChat account spreads extremely easily to the network of friends and groups, which helps to increase brand exposure and accumulate loyal users. This allows companies to save marketing costs. WeChat is an indispensable tool for every B2C brand entering the Chinese market.

Douyin / TikTok China: Douyin is just as important in China as it is in the rest of the world. Today, Douyin has over 600 million daily activities in China, with huge traffic. And consumers shopping by watching live streams has become very common in China, with live selling being the most popular B2C shopping model in China since 2021.

Baidu: As the largest search engine in China, Baidu is considered the most authoritative platform by Chinese consumers. Today, more and more shopping is done through large e-commerce platforms(Taobao, Tmall, Jingdong, etc.). Baidu’s CEO says that almost all major B2C sites are Baidu’s advertisers because of the quality of traffic and consumers that Baidu can bring to them. This shows that Baidu is also an available and powerful platform for B2C brands.

Develop appropriate marketing strategies based on different platforms

B2C brands must consider publishing quality content as the most important task in order to attract consumer interest and to improve shopping experience. It is important to consider the characteristics of each platform when promoting the brand, maintain a close relationship with potential customers and build trust, place the brand and the main products firmly in the minds of consumers.

During the marketing process, international brands must pay attention to the most popular events in Chinese society as well as small changes in consumer behavior. This requires a high level of expertise among marketers so that they can develop localized, detailed plans and then monitor the data and make adjustments in a timely manner.

In conclusion, marketing plays a crucial role for brands wanting to successfully enter the vast Chinese market. How to develop a systematic, efficient and correct marketing system, how to create high quality marketing content and how to reach and stimulate the psychology of the Chinese consumer are all challenges that test the marketer’s expertise.

If you need professional and localized digital marketing services, or if you want to learn more about the entry of B2C brands into the Chinese market, please do not hesitate to contact STAiiRS and we will provide you with the best solution.