Chinese consumers not deterred by premium prices, prioritize hygiene goods, says GlobalData

Chinese consumers are emerging from the COVID-19 crisis with increasing optimism, but refuse to be complacent on the hygiene and cleanliness factors. Almost a quarter (24%) of Chinese consumers is buying hygienic products at the premium or highest end of the price range, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

George Henry, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Fear of another outbreak has motivated the consumers to place an emphasis on products like hand sanitizers. The lack of price sensitivity indicates how significant hygiene factors have become in just a few months. Whilst we see consumers cut back their spending in some categories; healthcare, hygiene and toiletries continue to attract large expenditure purchases.”

Interestingly, of the top five high-end purchases in week 10 (3 June 2020), personal and household care goods are the highest spenders; this suggests a clear correlation between price and quality in consumers’ minds, as health and hygiene remain the first and foremost priority for most of them. What’s more, the other top contenders – beauty & grooming products and confectionery – are often marketed with a ‘feel good’ factor, perhaps indicating the importance of distressing and treating oneself during times of economic and societal unrest.

Henry continues: “This suggests that as spending ‘normalizes’ and consumers revert to goods they bought before the crisis, products associated with health and hygiene will retain their premium popularity.”

Due to COVID-19, ‘contactless’ shopping is increasing with each passing day and it suggests a change in the purchasing habits of the consumers. With social distance measures still widespread across the country, over two-thirds (67%) of Chinese consumers have stopped visiting grocery stores altogether, or are going slightly/significantly less than before. e-commerce has capitalized on dramatic drops in footfall, enabling consumers to buy the essential items they desire. 

Henry concludes: “Manufacturers must be attuned to consumer sensitivity over cleanliness, emphasizing the need to mitigate against another relapse. Aspects of social distancing, such as working from home, will become normalized behavior in the short-term for many service-based employments.

“The COVID-19 crisis has changed lifestyle dynamics, influencing the marketing that traditionally aims at vibrant social characters. With personal care and hygiene products still strong in the consumer consciousness, brands can explore the opportunity space of a home-centric individual as its new target audience.”

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