Chinese social media influencers provide a potentially lucrative sales channel for FMCG brands amid COVID-19, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands to modify promotion strategies in a bid to maintain consumer interest and sales such as collaborating with social media influencers (‘Wanghong’). If done well, this relationship could be a lucrative sales channel for FMCG, since consumers tend to spend much more time on social media during a pandemic, and, furthermore, good shopping experiences through Wanghong could establish a consumer trust that could continue post COVID-19 says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Lihong Zheng, Innovation Researcher at GlobalData, comments, “Working closely with Wanghongs could be a successful strategy during the COVID-19 outbreak when social media use has become prevalent. According to a survey by GlobalData, *37% of consumers in China intend to spend more time on social media in the foreseeable future, compared to before the outbreak. FMCG brands looking for growth opportunities can target this audience with ads and campaigns using products that are in high demand – presenting an important opportunity for brands to maintain or even boost sales.”

One success story is the instant noodle brand Ramen Talk, which increased salesdramatically by re-positioning as ‘Wanghong Noodle’ in an influencer campaign, resulting in CNY100 million in sales.

Zheng continued: “According to the same survey, consumers in China are purchasing products in same or even greater quantities from a number of categories including pasta or noodles at 62%, household cleaning products (88%), skincare products (73%) chocolate & confectionery (57%), and beer (50%). It is likely that consumers will want to stockpile these products because they are linked to pleasurable experiences or cleanliness during the pandemic. Companies with brands in these categories may find a well-managed Wanghong marketing to be most lucrative to take advantage of increased consumer demand.”    

* GlobalData 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Consumer Survey – Week 3 (July 14th) – China (‘spend more time on social media’ answers based on ‘significantly more’ or ‘slightly more’)

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