The Consumer Market Is Upgrading and More Exciting | Takeaways from our WIM Salon
COVID-19 and China
WIM Salon on consumer market. Image credit: EqualOcean

As long as a country's economy keeps growing, ‘consumption upgrading’ is happening all the time. On October 27, 2019, the WIM Salon invited exciting companies to an intimate discussion of China's current consumer marketplace.

Consumption trends are always an engaging topic. Knowing what people have a growing preference for is a basic market concern that has driven ambitious people for millennia, back to the economies made by our ancestors. From agrarian to industrial times, from the service-based economy to the current experience economy, whenever new goods or services come into being, we commoditize them and make them tradable. After goods became commoditized en masse, what has been happening over the last 20 years is that services are being commoditized again. We are paying premiums for house cleaning, for a good place to drink a cup of coffee and surf the Internet.

What we might not have realized is that we are moving to another new age, beyond goods and services. This is an age wherein people can line up for two hours to get a cup of Heytea in exchange for a 'wow' moment or a WeChat moment; it's an age when you go to a supermarket, you will be guided by an AR glass and there’s no need to check out at the counter. In short, it's an age driven by the uniqueness of people and experiences. Though many variables have contributed to this revolutionary process, demographic shifts and the development of technology remain the two key factors.

Michelle Wu, the General Manager of business development in Heytea, said that their company has the highest respect for a consumer’s essential need for a cup of good drink with a good design and a ‘good feeling’ integrated into the experience. Therefore, Heytea runs a brand based on expressing quality through multiple aspects of its products. Though it has faced challenges during its fast expansion over recent years, Heytea has set its strategic goal high – to be the world’s leading tea drink brand. 

Claudia Masueger, the founder of CHEERS Wines, started the company in 2011. Today it has expanded to over 66 outlets in 14 different cities. A strong will to go beyond borders, her family´s wine background and her sensibility for the product have made her one of the trailblazers in China's red wine market.

She explained that authentic wines with an affordable price for Chinese consumers is key to success in the very competitive wine market. It is also very important to teach consumers to distinguish good wines from others. It has also taken CHEERS years to create an effective wine consultancy via its platform to help consumers learn and grow. Besides that, CHEERS offers aspirational products, both online and offline, for consumers to upgrade their lives and have fun.

As the head of the only 2B company attending the event, SandStar's CEO Wu Yili addressed the topic around new delivery channels, new consumption scenes and new marketing methods, to explain the transformative power of the retail industry. 

From a technical perspective, Wu used the metaphor of 'eyes' and 'brains' to explain SandStar's current core technologies – computer vision and big data analysis. Their solutions will help to identify goods like human 'eyes,' to collect data from people and different retail settings. Then analyze them via a 'brain' terminal to optimize the process of retailing and branding and to make more data-driven management decisions.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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