In 2020, China owns the largest household appliances market in the world in terms of its volume. It is one of those rare markets that show a trend for a consistently high growth over the recent years.
As of 2019, the overall revenue in the home appliances market in China has surpassed a mark of 40 billion USD. With leading manufacturers introducing more small, handy, intelligent products that could be actively managed and operated from smartphones or other devices, artificial intelligence implementation is the main trend in this market.
Top home appliance brands in China
Xiaomi is also moving to the home appliance market.
Are there any long-term prospects of selling home appliances in China?
Yes. The factors are as follows:
- Annual 1-% increase of urbanization rate and further development of 3rd and 4th tier cities gives new homes.
- A boom in real estate market with rising purchasing power in China results in the expansion of the household appliance market.
- Technological advances evoke the growth of the demand.
- There is a rising need for replacement of the second-hand appliances with the new ones.
Know your competitors
Major Chinese home appliance brands, which account for the larger part of the market:
- Midea (kitchen appliances, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems).
- Gree (air conditioners, refrigerators).
- TCL (telephone, TV, refrigerator, air conditioner, LCD panels).
- Galanz (microwave ovens).
- ChangHong (TV, information electronics).
- Hisense (majoring in China for TV).
- Skyworth (fridges, washing machines, air conditioners, kitchen appliances).
- Joyong (healthy eating appliances).
- Supor (majoring in cookwear).
What is the best channel to sell household appliances in China?
Home appliances in China are being sold both online and offline in China. In the recent past years there is an obvious shift of people becoming more willing to buy it online.
Why going digital in home appliances is a better option?
- Online sales in China mounted to 1.5 trillion USD in 2019;
- That is more than the total sales of the 10 largest followers in the world;
- In 2019 online sales showed a growth of 16.8% compared to 2018;
- Household appliances are one of the top product categories sold online in China;
- 1 billion Chinese are active Internet users with more and more people picking up a habit of buying online.
Which e-commerce platforms do Chinese people use to buy their household appliances?
Nota Bene! I could proceed now with telling you about how these platforms operate and how to sell there. However, in China, if you penetrate the home appliances market directly starting to sell online you might find yourself going through the following stages:
- You make quite an investment to setup a store, develop and manage it.
- You dedicate a lot of time to go through all the procedures.
- Maybe you go through that several times because you don’t know how to deal with the Chinese people.
- You normally get exhausted a this point already but you know it is all done almost.
- You put your appliances on display, pay salaries to the managers and wait.
- Nothing is being sold.
- You get no return on investment.
- You place ads.
- They don’t work too.
- It’s a complete fail.
Where does the secret lie?
Here are a few of the most important mentality peculiarities to consider before starting to sell home appliances in China:
- China is a country with a lot of scams, fakes and low-quality home appliances;
- They buy something they already know;
- They don’t necessarily know anything we call popular outside China;
- They not just consider but lean on the public opinions about the brand before buying anything from it;
- No comments about the brand are equal to negative comments in their effect on the buyer – they just won’t buy it;
- Regarding the competition in the home appliance market, they will buy from a new brand only if there’s enough buzz around it;
- They trust experts a lot;
- Experts and public opinions here refer only to the locals;
- Your brand should be everywhere to get noticed in such a competitive market.
The above mentioned points are the arguments in favour of the Law of Home Appliances market in China:
Credibility precedes sales.
That is to say, in China you don’t sell and build up a good trustworthy image slowly but surely – you make an effort to build an image and then you start to sell.
3 Basic Steps to Earn Credit Among Chinese Consumers
Make A Statement
Your statement is how you see yourself and how you want to be seen as a home appliances brand. It is what you say about yourself, or your introduction available in China.
Get a Website to convey your message, but mind the following points:
- Your website should have a hosting in China/HongKong/Singapore (any other websites including the “dot com” can be banned out of the blue);
- It should be in Mandarin (not just to show your respect but because they don’t speak English here);
- Make sure it is informative and interactive.
Get an Official WeChat Account to get the following advantages:
- Get access to the audience of 1 billion active users;
- Design an interactive e-brochure to introduce yourself on WeChat;
- Grab a chance to post promotional content regularly;
- Let your followers know about the new products.
A QR-code of your WeChat Account placed on your Website is 100% more efficient than a link to the blocked-in-China Facebook page or the barely-ever-used Amazon store.
Let It Circulate
A Chinese Website does not only serve as a source of information but it is also part of a massive SEO campaign. SEO, or search engine optimization, is something any household appliances brand needs to become visible in China and then reputation.
Again, why visibility is a must:
- If they want to find details about home appliances they will search online.
- Chinese people are still very isolated from the rest of the world – they can never find your brand if you are not available in their web.
- They don’t use Google which is also blocked but they use Baidu with 85% of Chinese Internet users.
- The market is very competitive – they won’t browse further than the first search list page.
So, SEO on Baidu gives:
- Real presence in China;
- High ranking;
Ways to conduct SEO on Baidu:
- Keywords from your Website will contribute to that.
- Landing oneself a page on Baike (Baidu’s service similar to Wikipedia but implying more trustworthiness for the Chinese people).
- Opening discussions on forums like Zhihu and Zhidao (Baidu’s services similar to Quora that give backlinks and positive comments).
SEO is a process that takes time but gives a high rank organically. If you are short of time you can try SEM, or search engine marketing.
How does SEM work?
- Pay to Baidu.
- Get your ads-links on top of it.
- Get visitors through clicks on ads.
SEM works as a short-term quick solution but it does not really trigger a trust-feeling among Chinese consumers and it stops working just as you run out of your balance which might happen in half a day even.
While you are working on SEO you get visible and earn half of your e-reputation in China. Baike page, positive comments on forums, high organic rank made it possible for you.
What adds weight to a reputed brand is an expert opinion.
Getting reviews in local professional online magazines and other articles specialized in your home appliances is a must for a successful brand. It is crucial for a consumer who places an expert’s opinion on top and follows it.
Turn Your Statement Into A Virus
Once you are done with e-Reputation, you can open the stores on e-commerce platforms and create a buzz around your brand.
There are 1.4 billion people in China, and they can surprisingly be taken as a unit. It is difficult to control such a numerous mass of people, so they are being brought up and educated in a way that they stick to each other and follow the crowd.
Marketing home appliances in China means that one should not only care about positive opinions but also ensure that this opinion is voiced from every corner. The brand awareness rises as there are more people speaking positively about it. This is where Chinese social platforms come in handy.
Social media to raise brand awareness in China:
Each of these platforms has more than 500 million users and is used to spread a word about a household appliance brand. It would be particularly effective once used in cooperation with KOLs, or Chinese influencers.
The point is to involve more people into the process of spreading the content and create a feeling that everyone is talking about your brand. Like that Chinese people feel they have to join in.
This is where you start selling big.
Let’s get back to the e-commerce platforms we have mentioned before
JD.com or JD Global
- JD platforms dominate in home appliances and consumer electronic goods;
- JD Global hosts foreign brands’ flagship stores;
- JD Global uses an online payment escrow service to complete transactions in USD.
- This is an online mall of the largest commercial company in China;
- It focuses mainly on electrical appliances;
- It has its own online payment escrow service both in RMB and foreign currencies.
Tmall or Tmall Global
- Tmall is China’s leading domestic online marketplace;
- Tmall is the first platform for the Chinese people to look for high-quality products like air purifiers;
- Tmall Global offers country pavilions to classify products by countries;
- It uses Alipay for payments.
It’s easier said than done.
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