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Retail Trends in China 2018

What retails need to know about the changing industry

The retail land scape in China is like shift sand you could link it to mega companies like Alibaba, JD and WeChat constantly innovating the way how we all live our lives here in China with unmanned stores, virtual wallets and overhauling ecommerce as we know it. Or perhaps it was the longing of the consumers for a new experience which is propelling this cascading wave after wave of new innovations. 



Learning about consumers preferences is increasing important for brands to thrive. Consumers will embrace machine learning and artificial intelligence as long as it makes their lives easier and they are permitted to opt-in or opt-out.

A marketing research done by firm Mintel, they highlighted five key things they expect brands will have to consider in 2018. They spoke to the impact of machine learning and AI with the constantly rising affluent middle-class consumers that are increasingly exposed and with positive results, which will change the retail land scape again.

Form my experiences with AI, it still feels rough around the edges but programmers will refine it as the market keeps pushing for the best experienece.


The green footprint, sustainability, exercises, how the products are made. Chinese consumers are increasingly push for cleaner, safer products. In an exert from Jing Daily they stated that “A fashion group leading the recent green movement in China is Kering. Kering recently launched a WeChat mini-program called My EP&L (Environmental Profit & Loss), an environmental impact measurement tool. By choosing the type of material, source of the material, manufacture region etc, consumers can learn about the environmental costs behind their fashion purchases, and can then make ethical choices based on the calculated cost. The lower the cost is, the more environmentally friendly the product is. With increasingly green-minded Chinese consumers, this tool can provide an additional metric to assess the price tag of a luxury item”.

Utilizing the widely use WeiXin and their newly developed mini brands will be able to offer different added values for consumers increasing the way they are perceived in shoppers’ eyes.   

Social Stress

There stress that the Chinese consumer received has not subsided with the rise of innovation but is still going strong. Brands can provide a little retail therapy for shoppers who feel they are on the edge and need to find an outlet. By offering a different in - store experience that will bring them down for their stress high is what they are searching for. Athleisure brand Lululemon provides a good example with its strong experiential retail background. The brand invited consumers to join group yoga and meditation activitiy as part of their regular retail store strategy to attract loyal fans.


This goes without saying, mobile friendly store and experiences have to be in your plan if you want to have an impact with Chinese consumers.

According to Mintel, 87 per cent of Chinese consumers in tier 1-3 cities used mobile payments in 2017 – up from 69 per cent the year before.

Alibaba’s cashless store Hema show the way forward for consumer-friendly innovation. Other brand retail brands have followed suite soon after they saw the results, Bingo Box, Suning and JD all have a cashless or unmanned store.

Without a doubt not having a digital experience will affect brand image.

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