Consumers reach back into their pockets – May trend overview

This article was created by Ariel Yan who leads UMS Establish team that provides China consultancy and advisory services. You can contact Ariel via email:


As an extension of our China Morning Brief service, I am pleased to share with you the major insights and market trends we have observed over the last month.

May was a significant month for the Chinese market as consumers unleased their spending powers following weeks of lockdown, but in a more cautious way. China’s May holiday saw tourism revenue of 46 billion yuan over the four-day period with over 100 million domestic trips made. This small step towards normal travel shows the current cautious but hopeful attitude amongst Chinese. For overseas travel, the highest volume was booked for February 2021 as people take a careful approach to planning international travel.

New opportunities will arise around the theme of “new consumption”, “house economy” and “health related assets”. Alibaba’s May holiday report shows that “house economy” has been this year’s number one trend so far. Increased time spent at home over lockdown has led to consumers investing in creating a better home life and living space. Home appliance purchases are up 196% year on year. This consumption trend requires brands to re-evaluate their target audience, re-consider their brand’s position and set long-term marketing strategies.

The Covid-19 outbreak has exposed the need for brands across different industries to accelerate or adopt digital transformations and strategies. Take the education industry for example, democratising education is a leading post-pandemic trend in China as classes move online and top universities offer open courses. Online learning platform, Dingding, is expanding their video conference, live broadcast and classroom technologies which will bring huge benefits to China’s rural population. Embracing digital transformations which connect brands with rural populations drives more opportunities to reach this emerging market.

With the power of social media and its ability to drive discussions, understanding the impact of negative public sentiment towards brands is crucial. Increased negative topics on social media in China creates a tough environment for Australian and New Zealand companies. Our suggestion is DO NOT keep silent. To win back customers and improve your brand image, it is vital you provide an appropriate response and engage with stakeholders in communicating your operations, vision, and values.

UMS is dedicated to helping you understand who your new emerging target is. Find out what their priorities, preferences, and consumption behaviours are and how to effectively (re)engage with them.

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