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How to Sell to Female Consumers in China in 2023

Published on: March 29, 2023

How to Sell to Female Consumers in China in 2023
China has one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world, and women are, arguably, the most significant subset of this market. In fact, according to Alibaba’s Digital Outlook 2023, women now account for more than 70% of household purchase in China. That means that any brand that wants to access Chinese consumers in a meaningful way must have an effective way of targeting female audiences.

In China, women are increasingly seeking autonomy and expressing their individuality in their purchasing decisions. More than ever before, financially independent millennials and Gen-Z female consumers are spending more money on themselves for their own happiness. Traditional gender roles, however, still exist, and family and social relationships often play a significant role in decision-making.

Furthermore, Chinese women are also becoming increasingly tech-savvy, with over 70% of the population using smartphones and social media in day-to-day life. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to reach women in China through digital channels. 

In this blog post, we explore the top 5 strategies for brands looking to win over female consumers in China 2023.

Top 5 Ways to Sell to Female Consumers in China in 2023

1. Focus on Digital Channels

In recent years, China has experienced rapid digitalization, and e-commerce has become the preferred shopping method for many Chinese consumers. This is especially true for women, who are increasingly using social media and e-commerce platforms to research and purchase products. According to research by Frontiers of Psychology in 2022, 79% of all women in China use social media for shopping inspiration, and 76% use mobile apps for online shopping (this includes rural areas, where internet penetration isn’t as high as it is in urban centres). 

This means organizations need to prioritize their digital presence and ensure they are using the right channels to reach their target audience. Leading social platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin are essential for building brand awareness and engaging with Chinese consumers, while e-commerce giants like Tmall are crucial for driving conversions and sales. 

How to sell to female Chinese consumers in 2023 - Queen's Day
3.8 Women's Day (a.k.a. Queen's Day) advertisements on Tmall

Furthermore, participating in online marketing events like the 3.8 Women’s Day (also knowns as Queen’s Day) Festival helps brands attract female consumers. This major promotional event coincides with International Women’s Day and represents one of the top 3 major shopping festivals in the calendar (along with 11/11 and 618), targeting female consumers with special discounts on products catering to women’s interests and needs. For context, Taobao’s Women’s Day campaign in 2022 alone generated US$406 million in sales.

Additionally, brands can also leverage Douyin’s advertising formats to build brand awareness and encourage the sharing of user-generated content. For instance, American blender brand Vitamix started a hashtag challenge on Douyin last year to promote its product. These marketing campaigns provide brand opportunities to attract new customers and build loyalty among existing ones.

2. Embrace Personalization

Chinese consumers are increasingly looking for personalized products and experiences when they shop. Women, in particular, are looking for products that reflect their unique needs and preferences, and they are willing to pay a premium for these products. According to a recent McKinsey report, 53% of Chinese women are willing to pay more for personalized products.

To answer the demand for this, many fashion and beauty brands are embracing technologies such as virtual try-on filters and artificial intelligence to help personalize user experience on digital channels.

To capitalize on this trend, brands need to invest in their data and lean on customer insights to create personalized products and experiences. This could include tailored recommendations, customized packaging, exclusive access, and personalized marketing campaigns.

3. Leverage the Power of Influencer Marketing

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are a powerful force in China, and they are especially influential when it comes to women’s fashion, beauty, and health and wellness. According to various reports, 95% of women in China who are active online follow KOLs on social media, and 70% of them have purchased products based on KOL recommendations. By partnering with KOLs in specific niches, brands can effectively reach and engage with their target audience.

Furthermore, Chinese consumers today value the judgements of trusted experts in the market (partially due to a history of poorly designed products under-delivering quality and results). KOLs who are trusted by consumers can be super impactful for brands. Their endorsements are a valuable tactic to leverage for any organization looking to sell to Chinese consumers, especially women.

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To successfully tap into this trend, organizations need to identify the right KOLs for their brand and work with them to create engaging and authentic content. Diva Cup and WPIC collaborated with Liang Yu, one of China’s most forward-thinking celebrities when it comes to women’s health. Together they launched a campaign to inspire women to embrace their periods and celebrate their feminine qualities.

4. Build Trust Through Transparency

Trust is a crucial part of Chinese culture, especially when it comes to products related to personal care as well as health and wellness. Women are particularly concerned about the safety and efficacy of the products they use, and they are looking for brands that are transparent and trustworthy.

Organizations that are transparent about their products and manufacturing processes will earn the trust of female consumers in China. 

WPIC brand partner Fjorda (makers of premium fish oil supplements) demonstrates and displays test reports and certifications for their consumers in China

Organizations that are transparent about their products and manufacturing processes will earn the trust of female consumers in China. 

This could include providing detailed product information, certifications, and third-party testing reports. Brands that can demonstrate a long commitment to quality and safety are more likely to win the trust of female consumers in China. 

5. Emphasis on Sustainability

Finally, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor in China’s consumer market, especially among younger consumers. Women, in particular, are looking for products that are eco-friendly and socially responsible. According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, 86% of Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly. 

To tap into this growing trend, brands need to prioritize sustainability in their product development and marketing. This includes using eco-friendly materials, reducing packaging waste, and promoting socially responsible initiatives. Brands that can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability are more likely to appeal to female consumers in China.

Key Takeaways:

Winning over women in China in 2023 requires a nuanced understanding of the cultural context, a strong digital presence, and a strategic approach to influencer marketing. 

Chinese lingerie brand, Neiwai, social media campaign on body inclusivity garnered over 7.5 million views on Weibo.

Partnering with organizations that support women’s causes and creating content that celebrates women’s achievements are popular ways of engaging female consumers. On top of that, creating a strong emotional connection with those consumers can increase brand loyalty and foster long-term customer relationships. 

With women accounting for such a significant portion of consumer spending and having such a strong influence over household purchasing decisions, brands that understand and cater to this demographic in China are more likely to position themselves for success. 

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