Influenced by a new type of consumers and buoyed by the upcoming shopping season in China, exhibitors at the ongoing China International Import Expo (CIIE) have been showcasing more varied products and new marketing methods.
The 4th CIIE, held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10, has drawn nearly 3,000 businesses from 127 countries and regions. Many of them have brought tailored products and services for the expanding Chinese market.
The art category is a new zone at this year's exhibition, presenting luxurious paintings and creative cultural products for high-end consumers. Many exhibitors brought novelties such as stationery, cups and ornaments featuring elements designed by famous artists.
With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics approaching, products related to winter sports are highlighted at the CIIE. Companies are exhibiting new boards, smart outwears and other cutting-edge equipment to attract Chinese consumers.
China has been working on getting 300 million people involved in winter sports while statistics showed that Chinese people spent 13 times more money from a year before on ski and snowboard products in the last ski season.
In recent years, blind boxes -- a small toy box whose content is unknown before opening -- and other novel toys have gained popularity in the Chinese market, especially with strong demand from young consumers. In order to tap into the trend, CIIE exhibitors have adjusted their strategies not only with diversified products and services but also more eye-catching packages and stylish booth gifts.
Moreover, many exhibitors have oriented their marketing channels to cater to Chinese consumers' habits.
Theland, a New Zealand dairy company in Shanghai for its fourth consecutive CIIE show, has been showing visitors the company's homepage and mini-program on Chinese social media platforms. It also set up a live-stream channel to introduce their products to online Chinese buyers.
Such kind of e-commerce practice was rarely seen during the first CIIE as few exhibitors had social-media accounts in 2018, let alone accounts on Chinese platforms. In the 2019 edition, companies familiar with Chinese consumers started to use QR codes -- a type of matrix barcode containing data. Then at the third CIIE, live-streaming became a trendy marketing method.
From QR codes to live-stream marketing, foreign sellers are getting closer and closer to Chinese consumers. One essential reason for this change is the high-degree digitalization of the Chinese market, said He Ying, director of strategy consulting at KPMG China.
As Chinese consumers are planning for the year-end shopping season following the expo, which includes the "Double 11" shopping spree falling on Nov. 11 and the New Year celebration, CIIE participants are trying their best to adjust to new trends in China and seize the opportunities of the booming market.