China has the largest population in the world, with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants. But Chinese still struggle to find their significant other. Moreover, a lot of pressure is put on young people to find a partner early and get married as soon as possible. This is seen as a proof of stability and therefore of social success. The parents are the one who put the most pressure on their only child, by overprotection and by hurry to welcome grandchild in their family. And even though couples tend to wait longer before saying “yes”, marriage is a highly anticipated event in every Chinese life.
More than half of all the couples call wedding planners on help to organize the celebration, for which they spend lavishly. Everything is included, and weddings are prepared well in advance because they have to reach perfection. They do not hesitate to cross China and even the whole world to take good wedding pictures. Paris is their favorite place to do so and impress their guests. Chinese will have no trouble spending several years of savings for this event, as it is important so for them.
A $ 400 billion Market by 2020
Experts predict that the marriage market in China will worth more than $ 400 billion by 2020. It grows every year and evolves constantly. It has already seen relatively big transformation those last years. As well as the wedding budget, that has grown by 4000% in the last 30 years. There is therefore a real market to conquer here, especially since the Chinese love “Western” marriages. Foreigners should therefore invest in this sector in China. We will see what are the best tools to do so.
The wedding market : reasons why it is promising
- The general enrichment of the population
With the economic development of the country, a middle class has emerged but also an upper class. China is also the country with the most billionaires in the world. They are concentrated in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. These cities are therefore perfect bases to reach this high-end clientele.
- The one-child policy
Although it has now been abolished, families could only have one child for many years. Those kids therefore tend to be very spoiled. This has even given name to the phenomenon of “the little emperor syndrome” because the family provides everything he wants for him. Family also wants to contribute financially to the marriage of this child, in order to offer him the best day of his life. Since there is only one child, the savings made for this purpose are not shared and young couples can see their budget increase significantly.
- Interest in the Western culture
In general, the Chinese are fascinated by the western lifestyle. Especially young people living in big cities with Western influence. It is therefore naturally that this interest also turned for weddings. According to a study conducted in 2017, more than half of Chinese women prefer a “Western” wedding or a multicultural wedding with the chic and elegant style of a Western wedding as well as some traditional Chinese sides. It is also a sign of wealth and social success. For example they often want to offer macaroons, supreme symbol of refined and high-end French dessert. The customs of traditional Chinese wedding can vary depending on the region, but they became “old fashioned” and no longer seduce the younger generation, who sees this new style of marriage as more trendy, relax and fun. In addition, the purpose of the ceremony is also to impress its guests, and they will be more amazed by a display of opulence in European style. However, some traditions are kept (for example activities) but toward decorations, the European style is preferred.
How to enter this market?
- Chinese Social Networks
41% of Chinese couples find their wedding planner online. You have to be where they are, on their own networks: Baidu, WeChat, Weibo etc. Those names may seem unfamiliar to you, but they are used every day by millions of users in China. It is totally impossible today for a brand to survive in the Chinese market without using these networks. Because they are particularly different from the social networks widely used in the West, the communication and marketing strategy must be adapted to Chinese customers.
- The growing influence of KOLs
Offering your services to a Chinese celebrity couple for free may seem foolish to you, yet it will give you radiant visibility to millions of Chinese people. Your brand could even become an “ideal” because every young people want to do like their favorite celebrity. KOLs can come from different backgrounds: cinema, music, blogs, etc. They should only have a community big enough to have an impact. Their influence is such that they can also define the trends of fashionable places to celebrate the wedding or make the wedding pictures (Bali last year for example). You should thus be attentive to these trends to be able to make partnerships in those places before your competitors.
- Brand image & Ereputation
Since this market targets a young and affluent clientele, they are usually customers with a strong network that looks like them. Most of a customer’s network can therefore be made up of potential future customers, as they are potentially old enough to marry and have the means to pay for this kind of services. The image is therefore primordial. No error can be tolerated, because in this environment people love to share their opinions on social networks. And everyone tends to talk about what they liked, but even more about what they hated. In addition, the wedding is the most important day of their lives, so you have to meet their expectations. Word-of-mouth is extremely important in this market. Studies have even found that 38% of couples choose their wedding planner with recommendations from friends. The image of your brand must thus be neat and controlled.
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