China is home to the world’s largest market for automobile sales. In 2019, around 25 million vehicles had been sold in China, accounting for more than a quarter of global vehicle sales.
Sales of new cars in China in September 2020 grew by 12.8% compared to the same month of 2019. This is the sixth consecutive monthly positive sign for the Asian market.
The car market in China
Even if the car market is recovering, the trend from January to September remains negative with the months of the lockdown that hit hard. According to Caam, the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers, this year in fact the decrease recorded so far is 6.9% (compared with the same period last year) for a total of 17.12 million vehicles sold.
In September, 2.57 million vehicles were sold. According to Chinese customs, September is the golden month for the sale of cars, followed by October, which is considered the month of silver. According to Chen Shihua of Caam, the Beijing show and local consumer support policies helped sales in September.
In particular, premium vehicles (sedans and SUVs) recorded + 15% in August 2020, a better result than last year’s 10% growth, said Caam.
The electric cars market in China is growing
New energy vehicles (Nev), which include electric, hybrid, and hydrogen, took a leap forward last month. Sales grew by 67.7% reaching 138 thousand units registered.
The news promised by Elon Musk also during the recent “Battery Day” has revived interest. In the first six months of 2020, sales of Californian electric power cars in China almost doubled compared to the previous year (reaching 50 thousand units out of a total of 235 thousand battery purchases) despite the crisis.
Do you want to sell car accessories in China? Here’s a guide for you
What are the solutions to sell car accessories in China?
Your car accessories company must be visible on Baidu
In China Google doesn’t work. At its place there’s Baidu. Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, with 70% of queries. It is structured like an ecosystem (Baidu Search, Baidu Promotion, Baidu Video, Baidu Maps, Baidupedia). It has more than one billion mobile active users.
It is important to create an official website on Baidu because if Chinese consumers cannot find you there, they will not trust you or even consider your products.
To be effective a website must:
- be translated into Chinese; Chinese consumers consume in Chinese. I know, seems obvious, but you would not believe the number of companies that think their English website will do just fine in China. Mandatory mandarin is not only for the consumers but also for Baidu, which let me remind you is the most used Chinese Search Engine. Baidu only works in Mandarin making it hard for a non-mandarin website to rank high.
- Be hosted in China or near China. Why? the further the server, the slowest your website becomes in the targeted location. It is true in the west as well.
- Localized content: design appeal to Chinese netizen internet surfing habits, content is relevant etc
- be adapted to mobile phones; indeed in 2019, around 61 percent of the population accessed the internet from their mobile.
The importance of lead generation for car accessories retailers looking for Chinese distributors
Lead generation marketing is a strategy to get potential customers (in this case Car Accessories distributors) to come to you. With the internet, and businesses looking for information directly online, a lead generation is a powerful tool. With a lead generation strategy, not only you do not have to do cold call anymore (or the modern version of mass mailing/spamming a PDF to peoples that don’t use mailing), but you can build your reputation online, let the customers come to you, and do their researches before they talk with you. You can educate them with blog posts, videos, etc…
China has a history of scandals and counterfeit. Therefore, any Chinese consumers or businessmen will do researches before converting with you. If they can’t find anything online about you, you’ll probably not be considered.
People in China use WeChat to communicate. That’s why it’s important to register an official account on WeChat.
Social Media to target car accessories’ consumers
Car accessories companies in China must have an official account on WeChat
WeChat is a super-app, similar to Whatsapp. It has 1,08 billion active users every month, more than 1,5 million active brands, more than 17 million official accounts, and it is used for 86% by people of 18-40 years old. You can use Wechat to pay, to book a holiday, to buy things, create “moments”, send messages (private or chat groups, texting or vocal messages), use the mini-programs (e-commerce, games, augmented reality).
There are three types of accounts: corporate, service, and subscription. The service account appears in the contacts list of the user as if it was one of your friends writing to you and it is blue. It allows you to send 4 push notifications every month and it is the more complete account.
For a company it is really important to have an official account in order to attract clients, to send push notifications, to have more followers, and to redirect users to their website. It helps a company to create brand awareness and to create a community.
It is one of the WeChat tools. It is a great tool to communicate with your followers/customers and can be used in place of a newsletter. Remember, email marketing does not work in China, peoples don’t read emails. With a well set Wechat CRM, answer automatically any questions your followers may have, to welcome new ones, offers special discounts etc.. You don’t spend time doing it, and it increases your trust level with followers.
There are so many social media in China, so we always suggest having an Omni-channel strategy.
Use Douyin to advertise your car accessories in China
It is the Chinese version of TikTok, and it’s an application to create and share short videos (about 15 seconds) with music in the background. It has 300 million users per month; 150 million users per day; 85% of users born in the 1990s and 70% of users live in tier 1 and tier 2 Chinese cities.
Brands invest in partnerships with renowned KOLs (similar to our Influencers) to increase visibility and develop brand loyalty. Chinese users find catchy short videos from KOL on Douyin. Douyin in China, compared to Tik Tok elsewhere, is an effective marketing means to reach users-consumers.
The definition of the brand’s goals on Douyin is fundamental. These can be sales, brand awareness, brand credibility, building a loyal audience, and much more. Precisely define the audience of the channel: age, gender, origin, and interests.
Building a community on Douyin is key
A challenge is a great way to build a community of like-minded people. Used to promote a specific topic, brand, or content. Challenges on Douyin are usually promoted with a unique hashtag or stickers. Collaborations and partnerships are really important. Even just a collaboration with the right person can do a difference for a brand.
Since finding the right Kol can be really challenging, our agency can help with it.
E-commerce trends in China
45% of the turnover of the world’s e-commerce market takes place in China. The expected annual growth rate of e-commerce for the 2020-2024 period in China is of 6.9%.
According to Statista, the average revenue per user amounts to more than 990 €, exactly double compared to the world average. All this, considering that user penetration is equal to 62%, but it is expected to reach 70% in 2024.
In short, although China is now the first market in the world for online sales, its potential is still growing.
Sell you car accessories on Taobao
Taobao is an e-shop where small businesses and individuals sell to other individuals. To sell in China via TaoBao, you do not need to be a registered company in the Chinese trade register. Here, a bit like what happens on eBay, anyone can open an online sales channel: Chinese companies that want to sell in their domestic market, foreign brands interested in reaching over one hundred million registered users or individuals. So, whether you are a single professional or a company with employees, it doesn’t matter. You can open your e-shop on TaoBao and be ready to sell your products in China in a few simple steps.
Many young people spend hours and often whole nights looking for products to buy. It is really famous for the very cheap prices it offers.
Jd.com is one of the best e-commerce platforms for your car accessories
Jd.com had a market share of 24.2% at the end of 2019 and 362 million active users. The most active age groups on the platform are the Millennials and Generation X, therefore young people under 40. It is a generalist platform that focuses on the sale of products of all kinds, from fresh food to beauty, including from international brands.
It stores, sells and distributes directly to the final consumer thanks to its national shipping network. It is the site with the most accurate logistics system, with guaranteed deliveries in 1-2 days throughout the country. 85% of orders are delivered on the same day. It is a guarantee of quality and it is linked to WeChat.
JD.com operates on the basis of two models:
-Pre-purchase of products from the supplier (B2B2C model). JD assumes responsibility for aspects such as international logistics, customs aspects, warehousing, product page design, marketing, and post-sale services. This mode is recommended for brands that are already quite well known in China. It also guarantees an excellent user experience for customers.
-Opening of a store for brands (marketplace model). In this case, it is the brand that directly opens its online store on the platform. In return, JD.com manages customer service, marketing infrastructure, and other types of services. Remember that JD.com charges vendors a fee for the services they offer and collects a commission on sales. The latter can vary from 2% to 10% depending on the product category.
Sell your car accessories in China with GMA
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency that is expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help your brand increase sales in China, thanks to our services like:
- Baidu SEO&SEM
- Social Media
- KOL & Influencers
- E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce