“The focus shouldn’t be in first-tier cities,” Cavender told delegates, adding that the key to success is to focus on developing trust among consumers in tier-two and tier-three cities. “There’s been a lot of changes in the past five to ten years in how consumers see the world.”
Pollution, food safety and the crackdown on corruption have all influenced consumer trends, with a move away from tangible items towards ‘experiences’ and premium, healthy food – an opportunity for the fresh produce industry to make inroads in China's emerging markets.
As a result, branding and brand origins are increasingly important, said Cavender, adding that companies should focus on what their brands stand for and building a story behind their brand. ..
While there is a transition to high-end grocers, in tier-two and tier-three cities demand is outstripping supply, with consumers increasingly travelling overseas and to tier one cities, seeing the produce and products available, and so turn to online retailers to meet their demands.
“Ten years ago it was about the hypermarkets – they were the premium space. Now, hypermarkets are dead to the consumers – they don’t like the shopping experience,” Cavender said.
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