Clark Xiao
Jan 6, 2015

Sharing economy, micro destinations, entertainment marketing: China trends for 2015

What's more appalling than vermin infestation or wrinkles at age 35? Embarking on 2015 unprepared, writes Clark Xiao (肖明超) of Foresight Consulting (知萌咨询机构).

Sharing economy, micro destinations, entertainment marketing: China trends for 2015

2014 is out of sight and 2015 is now on the scene.

This year, the Chinese economy will enter a "new normal", a test of concentration for enterprises, businesses and brands to be more in-depth, innovative and immersive.

Consumer behavior will be more rational, and marketing will also bid farewell to explosive and "blowout-type" of growth.

Here are selected trends worth paying attention to.


Trend 1: Reconstructing boundaries

Diao Ye (雕爷), a beef brisket restaurant, also makes kebabs, afternoon tea, pancakes, and even offers manicures and pedicures. Xiaomi (小米) not only manufactures mobile phones but also TVs, agricultural products, cars and intelligent household appliances.

In China's new-normal economy, industry boundaries are being constantly broken. Although success has not yet been proven, the crossover tide has been unstoppable. Barriers to competition in the past for traditional industries have been reconstructed by the depth of internet penetration, the integration of software and hardware, and the application of O2O.

The core of all these changes is polymerisation of individual consumer demand. The layered aggregation of time, space, interest and content is changing past segmentation models based on age, income or occupational status.

Trend 2: Sharing economy

Our physical space is more and more limited, with fewer and fewer housing and parking spaces. Many goods and services do not necessarily need to be 100 per cent owned; one only needs to consider how to better use them to achieve efficiency and affordability. "Ownership" is no longer important and is being gradually eliminated.

Through mobile car rentals and short-term leases to temporary travellers, through online sharing of songs or stories, through exchanges of children's toys on the Internet, economic activity in a shared system at any time can connect hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.

Yongche (易到用车), Didi Zhuanche (嘀嘀专车), iCarsclub (PP租车) have taken the lead in the car rental industry in innovation. What is the next industry to capture the essence of a shared economy? Consider how to build a convenient point of entry and platform to let consumers share.

Trend 3: Micro destinations

In November 2014, the first World Internet Conference was held in Wuzhen in China's Zhejiang province. Representatives from nearly 100 countries and international organisations in the science and technology community as well as civil society attended the conference.

The ancient town of Wuzhen (乌镇) became associated with the internet for the first time, giving a new definition to the place.

The pursuit of viability as tourism destinations has caused a lot of big cities in China to tend towards homogeneity. The uniqueness of small and medium-sized towns and cities will be their charm and positioning for tourism resources.

Trend 4: Pan-entertainment marketing

All sectors will need to be more entertaining and less serious or "cold". The value of entertainment is its psychological pleasure and satisfaction, especially for the post-80s and -90s generations in China. Entertainment is now elevated to become a requirement of consumer engagement. Remember, marketing is also a "show".

Elements of entertainment in film, television, music, literature and games can be combined with interactive marketing. Content related to celebrities and stars can be amplified and stretched for a far-reaching effect.

In this Internet age, the brand is no longer on a "branding high ground", but needs to focus on affinity, such as the case of Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School (蓝翔技校), which used an over-the-top and humorous marketing approach to joke about its alleged involvement in hacking.

Are you still staying safe with simple celeb endorsements? Consider how your brand can play together with the consumer.

Trend 5: Personalised connectivity

New technology allows a mobile lifestyle and the intelligent visualisation of it. When the development of the market is in full swing, everything will be interconnected.

For example, Apple's wearable devices and Tesla's renewable energy vehicles have promoted the value of traditional equipment to that of being "linked" and having a life of its own. Consumers are looking for an intelligent ecosystem that integrates technology into personal lifestyles, be it household appliances, nail polish, or food packaging.

Do you think that wearable devices are just a fashionable fad? Do you know how they can be practical for mobile health manamgement and smart homes?

Trend 6: Timed consumption

Consumers are always looking for reasons to consume, and today the Internet can create more opportunites to do so for 365 days of the year. The desire for "every day to be a Sunday" is universal, and an important trigger to replace "modes of consumption" to "times of consumption".

Actionable consumption points can be created, with instances like Alibaba's Double-11 shopping festival, Benlai's 717 "home for dinner" festival, Southern Metropolis Entertainment Weekly and Vanward's Double-12 "go home to accompany your family" festival.

A busy Chinese society compels a reason to relax, but also a reason for collective consumption behaviour at a certain time. Getting customers to do the same thing on the same day has great commercial value.


Clark Xiao is founder and CEO of Foresight Consulting.


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