Summary of Catering to the Mixed Need for Consumption Upgrading and Degrading Matters More than Taking Sides in the Era of New Retailing

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Catering to the Mixed Need for Consumption Upgrading and Degrading Matters More than Taking Sides in the Era of New Retailing  summary
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In March 2015, online retailer Alibaba launched the offline supermarket chain Hema, ushering in the era of brick-and-clicks “new retail.” Since then, other Chinese Internet giants have been partnering with offline companies that have physical locations. The trend traveled overseas with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. What will the world look like as online behemoths continue to curl their tendrils into the world of brick-and-mortar? Writing for TMTPost, a Chinese platform for technology and business news, Zeng Xiangling offers predictions for the retail market and suggests how offline retailers should respond to the current market.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How China has progressed through four consumer stages,
  • Why taking an online brand offline is easier than taking an offline brand online and
  • How offline businesses can make the most of current trends.

About the Author

Zeng Xiangling writes for TMTPost, a platform that provides current information on business and technology in China.



China’s entry to consumerism has been a fascinating ride that took shape in roughly four stages. First, as the economy modernized and new products flooded the market, Chinese consumers rushed to replace what they owned: Gone were traditional green canvas shoes, ditched in favor of Western styles; black-and-white TVs gave way to color and so on. The second stage began when Jack Ma’s Taobao online market gained supremacy. The Internet democratized sales, and consumers reveled in cheap products. The third stage began when consumers took to mobile while simultaneously veering away from some of the low-quality products available on Taobao. Instead, they sought overseas brands. The current and fourth stage in Chinese consumerism blends the desire for quality with an unwillingness to pay premium prices for brand names. Chinese consumers are actively seeking unique products instead of passively accepting popular brands. So far, NetEase has been the winner in this era, with 156.9% sales growth in 2017. The products available on NetEase are generally of higher quality than those on Taobao – with lower prices than the popular brand names.

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