When we talk about consumption, what are we really talking about?
Consumption, as an economic behavior that runs through human production and life, is constantly evolving, reflecting the updated concepts of social groups. In recent years, in the ever-changing domestic consumer market, the rise of Chinese brands has become a strong trend.
Renowned financial writer Wu Xiaobo once discussed this new field of Chinese brands, stating that we are currently experiencing the third wave of the Chinese brands movement. Chinese brands today have entered a new stage that focuses on vertical segmentation, quality, and aesthetics.
The era of Chinese brands 3.0 has arrived. Analyzing the current Chinese consumer market, we can see that the introduction of new technologies and platforms like live streaming e-commerce has significantly transformed the ecology and appearance of the Chinese brands market.
From the rise of brands to the emergence of “new Chinese brands,” the changes in the consumer market reflect the shifts in the era.
To discuss the rise of “Chinese brands,” we need to trace back to the late Qing Dynasty, where the earliest wave of this trend emerged.
After the Opium War, a large number of imported goods flooded the Chinese market, taking over the domestic consumption market in an unequal trade environment. Out of strong patriotism and concerns about the survival of local commerce, businesses and people in Guangdong and other regions initiated resistance activities. Boycotting “foreign goods” and protecting Chinese brands became one of the mainstream ideas in the economic field at that time. This vigorous Chinese brands movement continued into the Republican era.
“National Brands Year,” “National Brands Festival,” and exhibitions showcasing Chinese brands were held one after another. National brand marketplaces and associations were established, and various newspapers and magazines such as “National Brands Monthly” emerged. The year 1933 was even designated as the “National Brands Year” by society.
If the early admiration for Chinese brands by various sectors of society was driven by patriotic sentiments, today’s consumers’ love for Chinese brands carries more of a meaning of “voting with their feet.”
Entering the era of Chinese brands 2.0, Chinese brands flourished in high-tech fields such as smartphones and automobiles through strategies such as quality improvement and branding operations. Numerous high-quality products emerged, and names like Huawei, Xiaomi, and BYD became the new calling cards of Chinese brands.
The rise of Chinese brands relied not only on solid products but also on the support and promotion provided by platforms.
The “2021 Douyin E-commerce Chinese Brands Development Annual Report” pointed out that Chinese brands achieved rapid sales growth through platforms. The report showed that Chinese brands accounted for a staggering 89% of the platform’s market share, with a year-on-year sales growth of 667%. The sales of Chinese brands in industries such as fashion, beauty, food and beverages, and personal care and home cleaning skyrocketed by 411%, 696%, 547%, and 912%, respectively. The report also highlighted how Douyin’s e-commerce platform continuously supports brand innovation and plays the roles of “incubator” and “accelerator” in the development of Chinese brands.
In the traditional commercial landscape, many domestic market segments were being occupied by international giants. However, Douyin E-commerce provides a breakthrough.