MEC China uncovers the new consumer trends for 2011

18 November, 2010

SHANGHAI — MEC,, a leading media agency, today released a forecast of consumer trends in China for the year 2011.

China is changing in a dizzying pace. For some marketers, these changes will unlock significant competitive advantages. For others, dealing with their impact will be a major challenge. As change accelerates across the country, the odds of missing a beat rise significantly. It’s important therefore to have your finger on the market’s pulse – consumers.

‘Trends’ are broad points of view, and when you get a feel for them, market observations make more sense. The ability to grasp the implications of new trends will give advertisers the edge in their category. The goal of Consumption Trends China 2011 is to be a springboard to inspire marketers, and help them come up with new business concepts, new products/services and new experiences for their customers.

The report is compiled using input from over 50 trend scouts from different parts of China, backed by desk research. The report offers an overview of what will be important to Chinese consumers in 2011.

The 12 new consumer trends forecast for 2011 are:

#1: Low-Carbon Consumption #7: Renting Instead of Owning
#2: Frugal Consumption #8: Mass Luxury
#3: Consumption of Sensory Experience #9: Rise of the Male Consumers
#4: Social Herding #10: Consumption of Virtual Products
#5: Online Consumption #11: Social Network Consumption
#6: Cluster-Oriented Consumption #12: Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Trend #1 - Low-Carbon Consumption will be a big trend in 2011. 73% of Chinese are willing to support low-carbon consumption by modifying behavior, while 82% are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products to support low-carbon consumption.

The Chinese rank low in ‘Individualism’ in Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. Chinese people want to belong to a group: if everyone is doing something, then it must be the right thing to do. A recent example of Trend #4 - Social Herding was the Mercedes Benz group purchase promotion online, where 200 Smart cars were sold within 3 ½ hours. One purchaser said: “Originally I had no urge to buy. But when I saw so many people buying, somehow I bought one too.” We will see much more of this in 2011.

The percentage of consumers who purchase online were higher in 3rd and 4th tier cities than in the provincial capitals (2nd tier cities) in 12 out of 14 provinces surveyed. Since low tier cities have less shops and products for consumers to choose from, consumers in these places are going to be the forces driving Trend #5 - Online Consumption.

Theresa Loo, Strategic Planning, Analytics and Insight Director, MEC China said: “Some of these trends will bring big changes to the market. The rise of ‘cluster-oriented consumption’ for example will give local Chinese brands an advantage over international players, because they have better insights into the culture and psych of the Chinese. Local brands can better utilize collective memories, history and local customs as rally points around their offer.” She added: “Our insights into new trends will also give new brands which appeal to niche interests a chance to enter the market. 2011 is going to be an exciting year for all marketing and communications professionals.”


For more information, please contact:
Theresa Loo
MEC China  
+86 21 2307 7790

About MEC
MEC deliver value by creating, implementing and measuring communication solutions that actively engage people with brands.

Media planning and buying ~ Digital media ~ Search ~ Performance marketing ~ Social media ~ Analytics and Insight ~ Sport, Entertainment & Cause ~ Multi-cultural ~ Content ~ Retail ~ Integrated planning.

Our 4,000 highly talented and motivated people work with domestic and international clients in 84 countries. We are a founding partner of GroupM. To find out more, visit us at   

MEC’s has 50+ trend scouts in key, tier 1 and tier 2 cities in different parts of China. They monitor what is happening in their cities on a regular basis and feedback the information to MEC on a timely fashion. The researchers at MEC then conduct desk research to verify the trends.

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