In addition to its e-commerce and marketing services, AgencyChina has a research & strategy team which conducts consumer research and surveys across China. This means we get a front-row seat as to market trends.
Some of China’s inescapable mega-trends over the next ten years involve public health. China’s population is getting taller, wider and older. This challenges existing stereotypes about Chinese people. If existing and new market entrants meet these trends head-on, they’ll be well-positioned in China for long-term growth. However, if they lose track of these trends, they’ll find themselves outmanoeuvred by more responsive competitors.
Read on to find these mega-trends and which sectors they affect.
China’s Population Is Getting A Wider Waist Size
China is probably not the first place you think of when you hear the word “childhood obesity”. Sadly, it’s a growing problem. Presently, one in five Chinese children aged 7 to 18 are overweight or obese, up from 2.6% in 1985.
More critically, China has a childhood obesity timebomb on its hands – it’s projected there will be 62 million obese Chinese children by 2030. For a sense of scale, that’s close to the population of the United Kingdom.
For all the talk of healthier lifestyles, a combination of doting grandparents, snacking, diet changes and less physical activity equals growing waistlines for China’s children.
For anyone involved in food and beverage, this mega-trend should have your full attention. You’ll need to consider rising sensitivities to fat, sugar and preservatives. That means innovating to update your product portfolio, releasing new products for calorie-conscious consumers (and their parents). Keep up to date with our market updates to learn of this area’s preferences, dynamics and potential regulation.
China’s Population Is Getting Taller
Thanks to years of uninterrupted economic growth and concomitant improvements in nutrition, the average height of Chinese males and females is the tallest in East Asia. Over the past three decades, the average height of 19-year-old Chinese men has increased by a full 8 cm (3.1 inches) and the average height of similar-aged Chinese women by 6.1 cm (2.4 inches).
If you’re in apparel and footwear, this is a mega-trend you absolutely must be adjusting to. The current phase of the fashion cycle, where oversized rules, is kind to those brands who haven’t adapted sizes for China. When the pendulum swings back to slimmer shapes and tight cuts, getting inventory right really matters.
China’s Population Is Getting Older
It’s difficult to capture the scale of China’s aging problem without resorting to the well-worn phrase “unprecedented”. By 2050, 330 million Chinese will be over age 65. For a sense of scale, that’s more or less the entire population of the United States. Already, China has the world’s largest elderly population. In 2019, there were 254 million people over 60. That’s 18.1% of the country’s population, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The aging crisis impacts many sectors, including real estate, health care, homewares and nutrition. What’s clear is that very few consumer brands have made the effort to understand elderly need states. This can and should change. While undertaking consumer research with China’s pre-retirees and retirees can be challenging, our team has worked on a number of ways to uncover key insights with this group. Let’s talk about it sometime.
Sweeping population health change means shifts in lifestyles, preferences and opportunity sets. If existing and new market entrants meet these trends head-on, they’ll be well-positioned in China for long-term growth. However, if they lose track of these trends, they’ll find themselves outmanoeuvred by more responsive competitors.