A world of opportunities for Australia and New Zealand among Chinese consumers

March 27, 2017
  • Food is the leading product for Chinese consumers to buy online from Australia and New Zealand, followed by baby food and products
  • Total combined online cross-border e-commerce market in China grew by a factor of ten between 2011 and 2016 to reach an estimated RMB 626 billion in 2016
  • 30% of Chinese consumers plan to visit Australia and New Zealand in the next year

While importing products is hugely popular in China, it seems that when buying these items online, Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are often front of mind.

New research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that more than one in three (36%) Chinese consumers who have bought imported products in the past six months* have bought food products online from ANZ, including one quarter (24%) of those who have bought food products online from Australia and 23% who have purchased the same online from New Zealand.

Currently, however, when it comes to baby food and products, Chinese consumers are most likely to turn toward ANZ. New Zealand is seemingly a favourite for Chinese shoppers to purchase baby food and products from, with 22% of those who have bought imported products doing so online, followed by Australia (20%). Overall, one in three (33%) of those who have purchased imported goods have bought baby food and products online from ANZ.

While Chinese shoppers are most likely to turn to Australia and New Zealand for their food and baby products, Mintel research indicates that alcoholic drinks are also popular purchase items. Around one in five (18%) Chinese consumers who have bought imported products have bought alcoholic drinks (including wine) online from Australia, followed by 11% who have bought clothing and footwear, 11% have purchased beauty and personal care products, 8% personal electronics and, finally, 7% have purchased household electronic appliances.

When considering top online purchases from New Zealand, 16% of Chinese consumers have bought alcoholic drinks, while 10% have purchased clothing and footwear, 9% beauty and personal care products, 8% personal electronics and 6% household electronic appliances.

Speaking at Mintel Big Conversation in Sydney today (28th March 2017), Laurel Gu, Research Director at Mintel, said:

“Along with rapid urbanisation and higher disposable income, Chinese consumers are now among some of the world’s biggest spenders. Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated while remaining influenced by the reputations of source countries. We see a lot of growth opportunity for brands in Australia and New Zealand to target Chinese consumers. With Australia and New Zealand both having reputations for their strong focus on natural ingredients, food and drink companies could see great success by tapping into Chinese consumers’ healthy lifestyle, particularly within snacking occasions.

Currently consumers in China are most likely to turn to the internet to purchase imported products. Almost three in four (73%) Chinese consumers have bought imported products online from domestic shopping websites in the past six months**, while 56% have purchased these items in-store within Mainland China.

Furthermore, Mintel research reveals that the total combined online cross-border e-commerce market in China, including Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer e-commerce, grew by a factor of 10 from RMB 53 billion in 2011 to an estimated RMB 626 billion in 2016, representing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 64%. From 2016 to 2021, growth is expected to slow to a still-strong CAGR of 15%, to reach a total value of RMB 1.3 trillion (RMB 1281 billion).

China’s neighbouring countries, including South Korea and Japan, are also popular online shopping destinations among Chinese consumers who have bought imported products in the past six months*. South Korea leads for shopping in beauty and personal care (45%), and clothing and footwear (28%) categories, while Japan, due to its reputation for technical innovation and engineering excellence, is the most popular country among Chinese consumers to make online purchases for personal electronics (28%) and household electronic appliances (27%). Going outside the Asia Pacific region, France is popular for alcoholic drinks, including wine (36%).

“While still strong, China’s Haitao market has nearly reached its peak because many foreign brands are now already established within the China market, selling either through domestic physical stores, or domestic online shopping websites. On top of product quality – something that is already associated with Australia and New Zealand – the key to grabbing Chinese consumers’ interest is convenience and customer service. Brands in Australia and New Zealand could consider selling their products via China’s leading domestic shopping websites, providing Chinese-language customer service, offering fast delivery services, as well as implementing the usage of third-party payment systems.” Laurel adds.

Finally, Mintel research indicates that it’s not just Australia and New Zealand’s products that Chinese consumers are excited about. One in four (24%) consumers in China have visited Australia or New Zealand, with 30% planning to visit the region in the next 12 months***.

Increasing outbound travel to Australia and New Zealand has resulted in Chinese consumers associating quality, safety and naturalness with the region. Because of this, manufacturers from these two countries are now in the sweet spot to capitalise on this interest by targeting Chinese travellers and leveraging their power to help build brand awareness through, for example, word-of-mouth promotion.” Laurel concludes.

*2,397 internet users aged 20-49, who have bought imported products between June 2016 and November 2016
**3,000 internet users aged 20-49, polled in November 2016
***To August 2017

Press review copies of the research and interviews with Laurel Gu, Research Director, are available on request from the press office.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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