Just when you think you have mastered the mindset of the Chinese consumer, a new trend is created and swipes the industry by storm. Trends are constantly coming and going in the hustle and bustle of big cities like Shanghai, but do we as business owners and professionals understand that trends and stereotypes don’t last forever? Today, China is going through the popular craze of “Free Character Design”. Character design is the detailed creation of a fictional character often featured in comic books, video games, anime, and toy design. Character designs are used to reflect the personality, appearance, style and even “stereotype” of an individual. So, what does character design have to do with the Chinese consumer? Character designs today are being created and modified to attract the potential consumer.
However, within the past year, typical stereotypes of the Chinese consumers have changed related to gender, age, and lifestyle. Below are a few examples of these character design stereotypes that have been redefined by the recent change in Chinese consumer sales statistics.
The “Masculine Macho Man”
This stereotype is for those guys in the office who solely talk about their “gains”, fitness workout plans, and show no interest in beauty or anything that could jeopardize their manhood.
The contradiction in sales:
- Ladies aren’t the only ones who care about what they look like! Gentlemen are starting to care about their appearance. (It’s about time guys) Male cosmetics/care products sales reportedly grew 5 times of the overall cosmetics growth in China. – T-Mall, May 2017 reports
The “I Don’t Care About my Health Young Person”
Junk food, beer, and cheap ramen are on the top of the grocery list for young people in college who are constantly busy and living on a budget. The idea of exercise and diet for them are walking to class in the morning and grabbing a Family Mart snack for lunch.
The contradiction in sales:
- Well-being and fitness sales from the past in China are typically most popular from older generations. However, now young people are starting to be just as aware and concerned about their health as their parents or grandparents! Healthy alternatives such as the bike renting trend of services like Mobike and Ofo are taking over transportation in China, especially by the younger crowd.
The “Boring Mean Old Person”
This stereotype of the older generation has their typical daily routine: watches their morning soap opera, attends their weekly book club, or goes for a nice walk in the park at dusk. The older generation in China and worldwide is not commonly known for their sense and crave for an adventure like the younger generations.
- Reports of entertainment products such as GoPros and drones are trending in China of purchases from individuals over the age of- T-Mall, May 2017 reports. This trend also correlates with the pattern of consumer’s choice to spend money on leisure and entertainment over food and beverages, unlike the past.
Being aware of the evolution of trends and stereotypes in the Chinese Market is crucial to understanding your target audience. China, as we all know and love, is an expert at evolving at a faster pace than we can keep up.