Is China a very competitive market, that is a resounding, YES. Retail is a very competitive industry. However, China's retail today has more brands than any other market. Most of the significant and average size brands from around the world are in China. They all compete against each other and local brands.
The Market Competitiveness
In an article from Statistics, they stated "The contribution of merchandise trade to China’s overall GDP reached about 36 percent in 2015. Slowing exports and an increase in the volume of domestic markets indicate a strategy shift of the Chinese economy towards satisfying domestic demand. As rural and urban households have witnessed a steady growth of disposable incomes, the spending power of the Chinese population has also increased dramatically, and the Chinese market has matured into one of the largest and still growing consumer markets worldwide. Foreign and domestic retailers both vie strongly for the attention of the Chinese consumer. Retail trade revenue for consumer goods in China has grown by at least ten percent YoY during every month from 2016 to 2017." By all accounts, it sounds like it is going to be an all-out war between Local retailers/brands vs International brand/retailers who are also competing against each other for a piece of the pie and there is a lot of pie to be had here. This is why brands still see China as a viable avenue to come and set up shop.
I know your thinking that the easiest way to get ahead and stay ahead the pack is to invest in technology and you are in the right neighborhood. New technology servers a vital role in the development of the retail industry that is for sure. In an article from China- briefing pointed to the option of tech "The New Retail model poses an existential question to traditional retail players. With ever more integrated offline and online channels, brick-and-mortar retail stores simply cannot compete with New Retailers that are equipped with cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and possess the capacity to use data analysis for accessing more consumers."
There are some brands that have implemented new technology from robots, tech tables, mobile application etc. However, we must remember one curtail part is that it must all come with engagement.
Engagement in Style
This generation of shoppers is well past the idea of going into a store because they want it to be done on their time and not the store time. Retailers now have to create that pull within stores by providing a memorable experience from start to finish.
They can use various ways to go about it.
Understanding that innovation is just one working elements to a whole gives you the big picture. It is the combination of both innovation and engagement that makes all the working parts come together to maintain or excel your ranks in the retail market.
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