China is facing increasing demand for vitamins and supplements in recent years. Indeed, demand stimulated by many socio-demographic factors allowed the development of the market with a little delay in comparison with the Western countries.
These new attitudes to these products are an opportunity for brands to develop their activities in the Chinese market.
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Market overview of vitamins and supplements in China
The market for vitamins and food supplements in China is growing. Last year’s market turnover was estimated at more than $ 16 billion and is expected to grow by 6% this year.
This enthusiasm for food supplements is justified by several factors:
– The aging of the population plays a fundamental role since this category of individual represents more than 16% of the population, ie more than 220 million people.
– Environmental pollution: the Chinese how to become aware of the harmfulness of the air that surrounds them and tend to want to improve their immune system and their health in general
– The end of the one-child policy: since the lifting of this reform, there has been an increase in the demand for this type of product on the part of women and children.
Previously, the market had a negative image among individuals, but growing awareness of health and disease prevention have helped to restore the market and change people’s attitudes.
- Protein powder
- Calcium Supplements
- Vitamin E
- Slimming products
In this market, there is a strong dominance of Chinese manufacturers because of Chinese medicinal plants. Foreign brands are positioning themselves on the market and are looking for innovative remedies based on ginseng, reishi, goji and other plants to offer quality products and effective for consumers.
Overview of Competition in the Chinese Market
The market for vitamins and supplements is dominated by Infinitus with a value share of 11%. The brand’s competitive edge lies in the company’s broad brand portfolio. Indeed, the company meets the different requirements of the market consumers. However, many brands are relying on market growth, which contributes to its maturity and saturation. The Infinitus leader has a slower growth in this year 2016 compared to previous years.
On the market, international brands are on the rise. Indeed, in China, foreign brands are perceived to be of better quality than domestic brands and are therefore more highly purchased. Nutrilite and Centrum are highly appreciated by consumers. The market remains fragmented, however, as the five most important brands in the market only have an overall market share of not more than 35%.
An Australian brand, Swisse Wellness is gaining popularity in the country. The brand has encountered a growing popularity on the part of Chinese consumers through healthy and quality products. The specificity of this company does not sell directly in China but has gone through e-commerce platforms to market its offer.
Certification procedures hampering commercialization
Any supplement that wishes to be marketed on the Chinese territory must be upstream, tested by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). Validation procedures in China are lengthy and complex and encourages the discontinuance of foreign brands to enter the market to promote the commercialization of domestic brands.
In China, a dietary supplement must have these three criteria to be considered as such:
- Be ingested orally
- Do not be a curative medicine
- Have at least one of the 22 preventive functions identified by the Chinese Ministry of Health
The popularity of e-commerce as a distribution network in China
In this Food supplements in China’s market, direct sales is a channel generally used by customers for the purchase of products. We can also find the sale of products in hyper / supermarkets and pharmacies for predominantly therapeutic products.
E-Commerce for Food supplements in China is generally used by foreign companies to enter the market , over regulated . This type of platform has the advantage of providing a win-win situation for brands and customers. Customers have the possibility to have access to foreign products without fear of the language barrier because the websites are optimized in Chinese. And an advantage for brands to conquer the Chinese market without having to pay heavy charges or taxes.
This type of channel has become an increasingly preferred option, both by e-commerce platforms owned by the company but also through third-party platforms, serving as intermediaries for sales such as Tmall.com and JD .com. E-commerce represents a particularly promising channel because of the nature of foods in this market that are easily deliverable.
The main factor of market growth is the change and evolution of consumer demand and expectations. The enthusiasm for vitamins and supplements in China represents an opportunity for foreign companies looking to expand into the market.
The Chinese market has many opportunities since it affects a wide range of consumers. Foreign companies have the opportunity to target the right niche markets to market their offers.
How to market your brand in the Chinese market?
Chinese Social media as a launch pad
Social media paced the lives of many Chinese consumers. In a few years, the social network WeChat has become more than an application of communication and sharing between individuals: it is a real digital ecosystem.
The application counts no less than 900 million monthly users and 600 million every day. The particularity of WeChat further, the social network function and communication. It is to offer its users an application regrouping all the necessary options in everyday life. It is quite possible with WeChat, book tickets to the cinema, book a taxi or order food. The platform also offers an electronic payment system with WeChat Pay which allows to pay in store. Moreover, it is quite possible for a company to open a store called “mini store” on the application for the sale of products.
Companies have clearly understood the value of positioning themselves on the application. There are more than 12 million official accounts, corporate and brand accounts. Many brands, whether local or international, that have met with success in China, have a WeChat account. If you want to improve your visibility and shine in the country opening an official account is mandatory.
We see that more and more brands are using WeChat to provide customer service to their consumers. Customer service on WeChat allows a better interactivity with its customers and a faster response, highly appreciated by Chinese customers, often in search of maximum information before purchase.
To market your offer in China a range of solutions are available to you, you just have to combine them to propose the most effective strategy. For that we can only too advise you to call on a specialized agency in the Chinese market to develop your interests.
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