The market of dietary supplements through e-Commerce in China
The healthcare market in China accounts for about 2% of GDP in China, compared to other countries for where the market is representing about 15%. This market is worth one Trillion yuan in China with an annual year growth of 20% over 2015.
The purchasing power of Chinese people with a wider target is one of the main criteria in the food supplement sector, this kind of market is not only targeting the elderly population but also young people who are interested in dietary supplements benefits.
There are mainly four dietary products mostly used by Chinese consumers:
– The protein powder
– Calcium supplements
– Vitamin E
– The slimming products
In this market there is a strong hegemony of Chinese manufacturers because of Chinese herbals plants in slimming teas. However, there are more and more international players who manage to enter into the Chinese market.
The cross boarding with Chinese e-commerce
There is a boom in e-commerce websites where Chinese consumers can order foreign products online. This type of website provides many advantages for Chinese customers: first the possibility of having access to foreign products without the worry of the language barrier because the websites are published in Chinese. Furthermore, an advantage for brands to conquer the Chinese market without having to pay heavy charges or taxes.
Here are two examples of one more general website and the other more specialized in the dietary supplements sector.
Although the Amazon site has encountered some difficulties by imposing its marketplace business in China. It is a cross boarding referring website for Chinese consumers with a large choice of products online.
Iherb.com is one of the referent site best known in sports supplements nutrition such as protein powder … etc. The main strength of the website is firstly the range of products offered and the international side which attracts Chinese customers.
Those types of e-commerce websites are a way to drop barriers between countries. But there’s another interesting point to note is the new regulations concerning customs barriers in China.
Tmall.hk is the leader on this Market.
STOP to customs barriers!
In general, we all know that China is known for its strict and well-regulated administrative restrictions. In 2015, the Chinese authorities have updated the regulations on food safety of 2009.
Some rules and more that can interfere with food supplements exporters in China: Products must be declared to the Chinese Government, the traceability of those products in China and the statement “the product cannot replace medicine”. And yes there is and there will always be rules, but China is much more open than last year especially concerning international products.
Finally China find an advantage to import products from abroad, especially because of taxes and charges that Chinese government is charging. This allows e-commerce website to sell more easily the foreign product to Chinese customers.
The quality of the imported product label for Chinese.
There is a certain mindset concerning imported products. For Chinese products that are made in China are inherently bad quality, this is the reason why most of Chinese people will buy their products in Hong Kong or abroad. This is particularly true for dietary supplements.
There is a real enthusiasm for the products abroad, for what reason? Most Chinese consumers purchase dietary supplements for several uses: to improve blood circulation, lose weight, have a nicer skin, better digestion … etc. and this is only the beginning of a very long list.
And as it is well known, products related to health and well-being of the human body, must rely on quality products, and talking about quality products, means foreign products for Chinese.
The Chinese want brands
Who says brand also means quality. The world of dietary supplements are full of different brands that compete for the market in China. Yet some of the most recognized brands in terms of quality of their products. I’ll give you some examples:
Muscle Tech is a sports nutrition reference brand recognized worldwide and especially for its flagship product: the protein powder targeting Chinese young athletes.
Doctor’s Best is a brand from US offering vitamin and very well known in China for its products.
To conclude the dietary supplement market is booming in Chinese market thanks to the interest of Chinese people for foreign products and the less strict rules about customs barriers.
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