Seen in the past as an exotic food product, the amount of chocolate sold in China is still relatively small, accounting only for less than two percent of the total global consumption. However, chocolate recently become one of the favorite food for Chinese people. According to market researches, chocolate sales have surged dramatically in China and the demand for imported chocolate is now important. Thanks to the rapid annual growth of this market and its large consumer group, more and more chocolate producers over the world are attracted to develop their business in China.
The chocolate market in China
In China, the annual per capita consumption of chocolate is only 70 grams. However, if you multiply this amount by the size of the market, you can notice that the chocolate market in the country has a huge potential. Four companies hold a 70% market share of China’s chocolate market and only one of them is Chinese.
Main brands in China
The biggest four companies in China chocolate market are:
- Dove, has taken one-third of the market.
- Leconte, which is the only local brand.
These four companies have held the high-class market and have taken over 70% of the market. Then, other brands, such as UHA or Meiji, take the medium-to-high class of the chocolate market and the rest of the market is taken by local companies.
China only has a chocolate manufacturing history of fewer than 60 years. Therefore, the competition between foreign and local brands is important. Consequently, local companies have to adapt their products to match international quality that Chinese customers prefer and still need time to catch up.
According to a recent survey, the top 20 chocolate makers are present in the market and among the 70 brands of chocolates that you can find in Shanghai, most of them are foreign brands. Actually, almost 90% of the Chinese market is dominated by the foreign brand of chocolates. It is explained by the fact that Chinese consumers prefer to buy high-end foreign chocolate.
How do Chinese people consume chocolate?
Taste is one of the key factor to sell high-end chocolate in China. Indeed, it plays the top role for consumers to choose their chocolate and in the future Chinese consumers will more and more pay attention to the variety and different tastes.
The brand also became important for Chinese buyers. A large part of imported chocolate is purchased to be offered as a gift or for ceremonial use like wedding candy. For example, half of the top 10 items sold online for Chinese Valentine’s Day are chocolates. Moreover, Chinese consumers are more and more paying attention to health, and foreign chocolate is trusted for containing better ingredients. Therefore, imported chocolates are sold as a high-end food product.
Even if some brands still have a high price, a high-end chocolate is now a product that most Chinese buyers can afford, and they often choose a product according to its price because it is an important tool to show the product’s value.
A study on the consumption habit of Chinese consumers shown that foreign chocolate brands are more popular than local brands; 32.1% of the chocolate consumers prefer foreign brands and 22.2% prefer Chinese brands.
How to conquer the chocolate market in China?
China has cultural fundamental values about food, this is why you need to adapt to the market.
Given that one the most efficient strategy to sell a product in China is by using online marketing and branding, you have two ways to promote your chocolate: have a website in Chinese and use Social Networking Sites (SNS). This strategy will allow you to reduce costs, have a more precise marketing, have feedback from the market and have an easy reputation control.
Have a website in Chinese
A website in Chinese is necessary to enter a market and realize branding. This an efficient solution to increase the popularity of your chocolate, influence consumers with content and design, and develop the image of your company in the country. Finally, the promotion of your company’s website by SEO or SEM is essential.
Use Social Networking Sites (SNS)
Social networks, such as Wechat or Weibo, are used by a large part of the Chinese population. Consequently, the promotion of your chocolate on SNS is important for your company to be known.
With SNS you can build a community, reach your target more precisely, create a friendly company image and get feedback about the brand.
To conclude, it is noticeable that the imported chocolate in the Chinese market has a strong demand and will increase in the future. A large part of consumers buys chocolate for the brand name and its taste. Therefore, it is necessary to adapt your strategy in order to develop your business in China.
If you need help with your implementation of the chocolate market in China, we can offer you a professional digital marketing communication and help you to communicate on chine social networks. Do not hesitate to contact us!