China’s women consumers are digital-era dynamos

In China, women now hold up more than half of the sky, at least in terms of their purchasing power.

The sheer size of China’s female consumer population makes it the third-largest consumer market in the world—worth almost the total of combined retail markets in Britain, France and Germany. This “sheconomy,” valued up to 10 trillion yuan, is fueled by 400 million female consumers, 20 to 60 years of age.

Role: Who she is
primary purchaser in growing number of areas

Our research shows Chinese women now have the final say on household spending and are the primary buyer of daily supplies for their families. Women are driving purchases like groceries, housewares and clothing, while men still drive in areas like household appliances and hotel booking.

Approach: What she thinks
practical, mindful consumerism reigns

Women in China are slightly less brand-obsessed than males—44 percent prefer name-brand products, versus 48 percent of men. This view may stem from their pragmatic view of finances and budgeting. Our Accenture survey shows only one in four Chinese women think it is alright to live paycheck to paycheck. Mindful consumerism reigns. Social media networks can challenge even the best intentions for practicality, but women consumers in China are holding their own.

45%

of women consumers in China are willing to pay a higher price for products recommended via social media network, versus men at 49 percent.

54%

of women compare prices of goods across sites before placing an order online (55% of men). Offline, men edge women out slightly in price comparisons—51 percent versus 49 percent.

7OUT OF 10

women say they want to be more time-efficient when searching for product information and comparing prices.

Values: What matters to her
customer experience trumps all

Online or offline, customer experience matters more than ever to Chinese women, a third of whom will switch brands frequently. Three out of four female consumers between 25 and 44 years of age with a monthly income of 8,000+ yuan believe “shopping is not merely purchasing an item, but more about purchasing an experience.” And 60 percent consider shopping a by-product of their social life.

Put it all together and you have a female consumer in China who is:

  • Experience-oriented
  • Prone to try the new
  • Increasingly harder to delight
  • Low on customer loyalty scale

Market growth: What she buys
jettison the stereotypes

Chinese women have become almost as digitally active as men, particularly college-educated women with a monthly income of 8000+ yuan. Those aged 35 to 45 are more interested in certain types of technology than their male counterparts.

73%

of women own products with smart-voice functionality.

48%

of women are using wearables.

70%

of women have purchased or are interested in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) products.

The sports and fitness market in China, as in much of the world, has been traditionally dominated by male consumers. But our Accenture study shows that 35 percent of women in China value long-term fitness, working out for over five hours per week. One-third of them say they plan to increase their spending on sports and fitness in the future. Many already may be doing so.

Courting women consumers

Female consumers make up an increasingly powerful buying contingent in the dynamic, complex Chinese market. Winning their loyalty is a multi-faceted undertaking. But, keeping a few things in mind will help companies in the Chinese market optimize their chances of developing mutually profitable relationships with female consumers.

  • One size does not fit all.
  • Think before you jump into the social swim.
  • Experiences matter as much as products.
  • Grow with your women customers.
  • Digital dynamism is here to stay.

Yu Jin

Managing Director, Lead – Accenture Strategy, Greater China

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