In 2020, China has +20% increase , Chinese Ice Cream Market is the number one in the world.
Every Ice Cream Brands should think about this Dynamic Market , and should read this article before laucnh their brand in China.
Recently, ice cream sales in China have maintained a 20% increase each year, making it the country with the world largest ice cream market. Thanks to a growing middle class with an increasing income and the taste for western goods, high end ice cream consumption has never been higher in China. The current economic development in China attracts foreign companies to invest in the frozen sector, especially in the ice cream sector. New consumer tastes as well as new preferences are changing the way how Chinese are taking their ice-cream.
The ice-cream market in China
Even if the ice cream production volume reached 3.06 million tons and total sales value yielded over CNY40.8 billion, China has not yet surpassed Western countries in terms of consumption per capita. Indeed, US residents are the largest ice cream consumers with an average of 18.4 liters per capita in a year, whereas Chinese consumers eat less than four times that amount on average annual intake. However, one third of all ice cream bought globally is consumed in China.
The country is investing in this new market to improve retail infrastructures, the capability of the frozen food industry and the diversity of distribution channels.
Last year, China’s average income increased by 7%. Therefore, Chinese are spending more money than ever before on leisure goods. The development’s pace coupled with the higher lifestyle of Chinese consumers, especially the young generation, is having an important impact on the ice cream market in China. Moreover, last year, the total frozen food industry maintained a 25% increase in market size and reached CNY470 billion.
Many Chinese brands are investing on the high-end ice cream market, but foreign companies are also innovating to compete with local companies. Nestlé and Haagen-Dazs are the most popular foreign companies known for their premium quality ice cream, while domestic producers are superior concerning channels distribution and prices. Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for a high-end ice cream which is an opportunity for foreign brands.
How to adapt products according to Chinese trends
The ice cream’s consumption is different between the West and China. In the past few years consumption’s behaviors have changed, many challenges and opportunities are present for all ice cream producers who want to invest in China
Two interesting trends have been revealed in China by the growth of the ice cream industry. The first one is that Chinese consumers are looking for more refreshing and cold foods to beat the summer heat. The second trend, and the most intriguing, is that there is an increasing demand for alternative flavors. Indeed, the traditional milk, chocolate and vanilla flavors are not satisfying Chinese consumers anymore, they are expecting for more alternative flavors. These new trends are consequently forcing companies to adapt and diversify the flavors of their products according to consumers’ expectations.
Chinese Ice Cream Brand
For example, Wufang (五丰), a Chinese ice cream producer, created a spicy chocolate flavored ice cream called Mengxiaola (萌小辣). The Chinese ice cream store Bonus (陆记蟹行) based in Shanghai also launched a yolk ice cream. Global, an ice cream store, created a squid ink favor which scored 8.3 on a scale from 1 to 10 on the recommendation app Dianping (大众点评), and the store also proposes many other flavors from across the world. Chinese consumers are very fond of testing new invented ice cream flavors.
Another way for producers to adapt on the Chinese market is to pay attention to customer experience. Chinese consumers are now putting more focus on experience and ice cream became more than just food, it became a product of modern life. Consequently, in order to win more shares on the market, companies, such as Nestlé, Yili or Meiji, are investing over CNY1 billion to develop projects in relation with DIY experience.
Magnum in China…
Last year in Shanghai, Magnum opened three time a DIY experience ice cream store called “Pleasure Shop” to attract customers and to stimulate them to seize the opportunities to eat ice cream during only one month. This kind of new strategy cater to the requirement of Chinese customers.
For Chinese customers aesthetic is important and innovated ice cream is a way to sustain people’s interest. A recent trend in the ice cream market is the shinning ice cream which is made by putting ice cream on top of sparkling water in a jar. Many Chinese are queuing for a long time to have the chance to take a photo of this eye-catching ice cream and then post it on social media.
Be known on Chinese Social Media
Another trend in China is a mini set of ice cream made by Cornetto in collaboration with the cartoon brand Line Friends. This set of ice cream received a huge success and many customers posted about it on social medias such as Weibo.
Be Different in China …
The last way to differentiate high end ice cream products on the market is to invest on healthier food materials. Indeed, more and more Chinese suffer from diabetes and need to adapt their diet. Consequently, an increasing number of them are calling for healthy and low-fat food. Classic ice creams contain high sugar, fat and additives but producers need to return to natural ingredients in order to satisfy customers’ healthy requirements.
Another popular choice in China is frozen yogurt which contains probiotics helping to conserve some of the nutritional value of ice cream and, therefore, helping for digestion.
According to Chinese consumers, the aesthetic appeal of an ice cream is more important than the flavor or the price. Therefore, overseas brands have many opportunities in the world largest ice cream market by adapting their products to Chinese trends.
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