Nowhere else are people more obsessed with making life as effortless as possible than in China. Urban citizens want help in organising their limited time, resources and attention span. Therefore, the mobile consumer revolution has focused around convenience - to have someone else help get things done, whenever and wherever you are.
WeChat and other hugely popular social media channels have become digital life management hubs integrating microapps and mini programs for communication, social, financial, retail, entertainment and even healthcare purposes. These multi-functional super-apps generate vast amounts of user data on virtual social behaviour and shopping baskets, thus helping retailers and brand owners to cater specific consumer needs even more personally.
New mobile, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and facial recognition -powered intuitive technologies seamlessly integrate online and offline elements, for example in unmanned automated convenience stores, virtual shopping malls or shopping apps live-streaming events from brick-and-mortar stores.
Unlike in most parts of Europe, home delivery in Asian megacities is quick and cost efficient due to high population density and relatively cheap labour. Home delivery in China is also extremely simple as 1/3 of the population are making payment cashless using their mobile phone for everything they purchase - online and offline.
In this highly competitive environment, brands need to pack their whole offering in one convenient experience. The product, packaging and pricing, as well as pre-, during- and post-purchase services need to create real emotions, real-time.
The role of packaging in this – real or virtual world – is to visually grab the attention of the busy consumer, be easy to purchase, carry, open, consume, dispose of and look good in pictures on social media, supporting one’s selfie image.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to all this convenience: home delivery and on-the-go consumption often result in unnecessary overpacking. In China, respecting the environment is a relatively new topic and packaging from this perspective is not yet in people’s mind. But it is bound to come.
"Sustainable convenience" is undoubtedly going to be the next big thing - and not only in Asia but globally. Metsä Board's products and services have a lot to offer in that respect.
Anu Rehtijärvi, Market Intelligence Manager, Metsä Board
Read more articles about urbanisation:
Urbanisation Radar: paperboard demand
Urbanisation Radar: online retail
Urbanisation Radar: the retail of packed consumer goods
Urbanisation Radar: Urbanisation radar: an introduction
To prepare for the future, Metsä Board has established an ‘Urbanisation radar’ to better understand the effects of urbanisation on lifestyles, consumption and packaging, and to contribute to more sustainable solutions. Our ‘Urbanisation radar’ is an umbrella approach to collect, share, interpret and implement the findings. Stay tuned – we look forward to discussing and collaborating on the key themes in our channels.