Chinese shoppers turn to imported home decor items as avenue for self-expression

China User Research: Self-Expression and Uniqueness Home Decor

The data

A new report by TMall International 天猫国际, one of China’s biggest online shopping portals and an Alibaba subsidiary, hints that users on its platform were increasingly interested in “unique” home decor items in 2018. Purchases were sharply up for home furnishings and decor products with these keywords in the description:

  • Design 设计
  • Creative 创意
  • Unique 个性
  • Vintage 复古
  • Elegant 典雅
  • Exquisite 精致

Why it matters

As China’s middle class grows, consumers are increasingly shifting away from the utilitarian purchasing patterns of prior generations, and are becoming more interested consumption as a means of self-expression.

Online merchants are taking dramatic steps to keep up with demand (Alizila):

Alibaba Group on Tuesday said it would use its e-commerce platforms to bring $200 billion worth of imported goods into China over the next five years to satisfy Chinese consumers’ growing demand for higher-quality goods from overseas.

The push is supported by Chinese regulators, who have implemented a series of policies to smooth custom clearance processes and lower import costs (Sixth Tone):

The country has … lowered import taxes on household commodities five times since 2015 — most recently, the average tax rate was lowered from 15.7 percent to 6.9 percent in July — to boost sales.


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