Furniture is in high demand in China, Home Decor is a particularly profitable market thanks to the huge population and the ever-growing middle class, which can afford to buy luxury goods. Yet, even in this sector, the Chinese market presents a certain type of difficulty and peculiarity.
Let’s start with the fundamental question: does China need furniture imported from abroad?
Yes, here’s why:
• China needs furniture to meet the needs of 1.5 billion people and millions of businesses across the country, it is not easy to respond to such a huge demand with just in-house production;
• The new generations love to follow trends and fashions, they continually ask for something fresh and unique;
• 3rd and 4th level cities are increasing and interested in what comes from abroad;
• There is a huge market focused on foreign customers who want furniture to suit their tastes;
• When it comes to wooden furniture, China is now aiming to plant more trees instead of cutting them down for furniture production;
• Older generations are often looking for the trendiest and most luxurious furniture for their children;
• The Chinese public is increasingly interested in interior design and this passion cannot be satisfied with in-house production alone.
So China is a very interesting market for foreign furniture companies.
It would almost seem like you could just pop up and say “Here I am, I’m a foreign furniture manufacturer!” and sell thousands of pieces, unfortunately the reality is very different.
First, there is a myth that needs to be dispelled: China does not only produce old-fashioned, low-quality and cheap traditional furniture . Far from it. The furniture industry in China has a long tradition and boasts a certain prestige and China is the largest furniture exporter in the world.
This places you in a competitive market in which you will have to emerge to capture the attention of buyers and customers. In particular, it is crucial to have a strong and positive brand reputation before entering the market Chinese, whether your choice is to log in online or offline.
Have you ever attended a trade show in China and exchanged lots of business cards with potential buyers, only to find yourself with a fistful of flies in your hand? Have you wondered why to show interest in your brand and then disappear into thin air? What happens is that after the show, potential buyers will do research on you online (yes online!) And check the presence and reputation of your brand. There is not? You will simply be ignored.
Therefore, it is essential to build the brand reputation in China. But before we dive into how to increase your brand awareness in the Chinese market, let’s take a look at your target audience.
Who should you contact when selling furniture in China?
Before entering any market, it is important to know your target audience.
In terms of final customer ( B2C ), Chinese consumers will typically be aged between between 25 and 35, they will have to buy their first home, rent an apartment or maybe they are just married. They tend to have higher demands on furniture than older people. & Nbsp;
Since most of your potential customers will be young, they will tend to prefer trendy and modern furniture, which is also practical and doesn’t take up much space. Therefore, the ideal product is modern, small, multifunctional, innovative and … sustainable! The latter is a very hot topic in China in recent years. Of course, to be successful, you will need to develop your online presence and effectively market your products.
In terms of B2B , furniture buyers have different requirements that need to be considered:
• Home furniture : All furniture used in the homes of urban residents, including cabinets and kitchen appliances.
• Furniture for children : Parents are adopting new concepts of life and are becoming increasingly able to afford furniture specially designed for the development and safety of their children.
• Outdoor furniture : some elements have to be considered in a country like China. For example, furniture must withstand heat and cold.
• Furniture for hotels and guesthouses: this sector is huge and should not be overlooked.
• Office furniture: to make money, and companies have to spend money and some of that money will go to furniture.
• Furniture for public bodies: Public sector facilities such as medical, sports, cultural and educational institutions all need furniture to function and last. Durability is key in this industry.
How to promote your furniture in China?
As you probably already know, due to the “Great Firewall” Chinese consumers are unable to use foreign social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. So, that doesn’t mean they are disconnected from the virtual world. Indeed, China has its own social sphere, with apps that have millions of users.
The Chinese population is among the most connected in the world and, with a tech-savvy population, it is almost mandatory to be present on social media.
Why brands should be present on social media in China:
• The most popular Chinese social platforms have up to 1 billion active users each (such as WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Little Red Book);
• Chinese users are connected on average 4-5 hours a day;
• Social media such as WeChat offer the possibility of regularly informing the public with newsletters;
• Platforms like Weibo, Douyin give the possibility to influence a targeted audience in a precise way by involving & nbsp; KOL & nbsp; (Chinese influencers) focused on the furniture market;
• Social media is the place where most of the trends in the furniture market spread;
• When looking for foreign furniture, potential customers will search your brand online. If they’re undecided between your brand or another, they’ll look at reviews, etc.
E-commerce platforms: a must in a digitized society
“China is estimated to lead global online furniture sales with estimated sales of over $ 68.6 billion in 2019 . The rapid development of e-commerce in China has increased the sales channels of furniture in the past 2-3 years. Online sales of furniture through online distribution channels have increased from 54% in 2018 to around 58% in 2019 as consumers show a growing preference for purchasing furniture products online. The steady growth of e-commerce and the increase of retailers adopting online channels to sell their furniture products are expected to further increase the demand for furniture products in the country. “- Mordor Intelligence
As a result of China’s rapid digitization over the past decade, several e-commerce platforms have been able to stand out in the Chinese market, winning over 782 million users in 2020 and enabling this huge e-sector momentum. Chinese commerce, which is the largest e-commerce market in the world today. & nbsp; Importantly, these figures are increasing in number following the Covid-19 pandemic which exacerbated this phenomenon.
The e-commerce experiences in this sector are made unique thanks to VR and AR (virtual and augmented reality) experiences as well as virtual tours of already furnished homes, made possible on these platforms.
Contact us if you want to explore all the possible ways you could promote your brand in China!