With a middle class of 300 million that’s growing annually, there certainly are plenty of opportunities for selling products to Chinese consumers. But some products are more in demand than others.
To help small businesses attempting to enter that market determine which is which, online seller Alibaba held its Gateway ‘17 conference in Detroit this week. There, experts and business owners discussed the growing opportunities for businesses to sell a variety products to Chinese consumers — especially via Alibaba operated online marketplace Tmall.
What Chinese Consumers Want Most
Small Business Trends attended the Gateway’17 event at Cobo Center June 20 and 21 to learn more. Here are 20 types of products that are especially popular in China right now.
Fashion is one of the biggest product categories for Chinese consumers looking to buy imported products, according to Amee Chande, managing director of global strategy and operations for Alibaba Group. Chinese consumers, especially young people, like the styles they can get from U.S. brands, along with the quality of garments.
For similar reasons, shoes are also popular import products in China. Stadium Goods is one business that has realized success by selling shoes there. The company has found that some of its collectable sneakers that can’t be found in Chinese stores are especially popular.
Jewelry is another popular category due to the quality and style of import goods. Jewelry.com is a large U.S. brand that has been able to increase its profits dramatically by selling on Tmall in China.
According to Chande, beauty is another one of the most popular category for Chinese shoppers, especially those using Tmall. And makeup is a major product within that niche.
Skincare products like moisturizer and sunscreen are also popular with Chinese consumers. Especially if you offer products made with natural ingredients, you could have a good chance of appealing to health conscious Chinese consumers.
Also in the beauty niche, accessories like makeup brushes are popular in China. Real Techniques is one U.S. brand that has found a lot of success by selling its products on Tmall in China.
Chinese consumers are also becoming increasingly health conscious, according to Chande. So health products like vitamins and supplements are getting more and more popular on platforms like Tmall.
If you have the resources to ship to China quickly, you can also appeal to Chinese customers by selling fresh produce like fruits and vegetables.
There’s also a growing demand for U.S. seafood in China, both because of the increasing health concerns over local Chinese seafood and because the U.S. has access to some types of seafood that can’t be found in China.
Packaged Healthy Foods
But you can also appeal to Chinese consumers with health foods that are a bit easier to ship. Think packaged food items that include healthy ingredients like dried fruit and whole grains.
Chinese consumers, especially young people, are also interested in food trends. (Think foods like kale chips and superfoods.) Sometimes Chinese consumers can’t get these trendy food items from local Chinese sellers.
Juice is also a popular product among health conscious consumers in China. And some types of fruit juice, like cranberry juice, have just recently been introduced into the Chinese market. Ocean Spray is one brand that has ushered in that growing trend in China.
In addition, wineries and small wine brands can appeal to Chinese consumers as import brands. Especially for brands that operate in desirable regions like Napa Valley, selling in China can lead to plenty of growth opportunities.
“Mom and baby” is another one of the most popular product categories among Chinese shoppers, according to Chande. And baby food is a huge product within that niche. Gerber, for example, has found a lot of success by expanding its offerings into the Chinese market and introducing healthy food for the growing number of babies in China.
Moms also want to make sure they have the best possible products when it comes to taking care of their new babies. So companies that provide breastfeeding accessories and similar products can appeal to new parents looking to get the very best products for their growing families.
Though clothing of any type is popular in China, maternity clothing can be especially popular due to the growing number of families in China.
In addition, other baby accessories like bottles, rattles and play sets can also appeal to those family oriented consumers who are willing to pay a premium to get the best possible products for their kids.
Natural Cleaning Products
Chinese consumers also regularly purchase everyday products like cleaning goods online. So U.S. businesses could potentially sell cleaning products, especially those with natural ingredients to appeal to families and health conscious consumers.
Sporting goods and athletic gear are also popular. This category can range from outdoor gear to equipment for specific sports or workout activities.
And also, technology is a huge market in China. Consumers can obviously get tons of different gadgets from all kinds of sources. But if your company has a unique offering that isn’t everywhere in China already, it could certainly appeal to that customer base.
Shopper Photo via Shutterstock