Stay-at-home shoppers offer China growth

02 July 2012

BEIJING: Almost half of Chinese consumers prefer staying in to going out, although many remain in "active spending mode" while at home, according to a report.

MEC, the media agency, drew on data from 89,381 people in first, second and third tier cities, and found 49% would rather be at home than go out when not working. Just 16% took the opposite view, while the remainder were "neutral".

Among the main reasons for this were that participants felt they could "do everything I want to at home", like contacting friends or online shopping. This was cited by 43% of the relevant members of the panel.

Some 42% sought to rest because of high pressure at work, 37% stated that the internet allowed them to discover what was going on in the world without venturing outdoors.

A further 35% enjoyed the comfort of staying in and 29% were "too lazy". Other key factors included the fact it was more "green" to do so, on 19%, and saving money, on 17%. Concerns over pollution scored 10%.

"Providing an in-home version of what is usually available only out of home offers huge opportunities," the study suggested.

Nescafé's Nespresso machine, which brews premium coffee experience, was argued to be one brand that has leveraged this trend, a status also attributed to Samsung's 3D home movie theatre.

Elsewhere, the report revealed 43% of people that liked to stay at home - called "Zhais", reflecting the Chinese term for "cocooning" - had opened an account on Sina Weibo, the microblog, in 2009 and 2010, well above the national average.

When tracking how these consumers use Sina Weibo, the analysis showed they are typically active between 7pm and 2am. Some 41% add the tag "music" to posts, doubling the total for other users.

Similarly, 30% of "Zhais" appended the label "travel" to messages, compared with 19% as a norm. These figures stood at 29% and 25% for "movies", according to the study.

Moreover, 15% of this group followed the official accounts of Mogujie, one of China's leading social commerce sites, as did 12% for Meilishou, another popular player in the same sector.

Christian Giunot, president of MEC China, said: "If close to half of Chinese consumers self-proclaim that they are Zhais and subsequently adopt zhai behaviour, moving consumption that usually takes place out-of-home inside the home, this will affect the structure of the market and brands in a big way."

Data sourced from MEC; additional content by Warc staff