Consumers are concerned about daily health management, and Chinese consumers are increasingly investing in health care, according to research firm Mintel. The per capita consumption expenditure of healthcare products (excluding medical services) was RMB 1,618 in 2019, accounting for 5.2% of total per capita consumption expenditure (RMB 31,160). Total healthcare product expenditure increased by 9% in 2019, surpassing the growth of overall consumer expenditure (7.2%) in the same period.
Improving immunity has become a key market issue, with 90% of consumers agreeing that COVID-19 has made people more aware of the importance of immunity. Usage penetration of vitamins and supplements increased from 48% to 57% from late February to early May.
“The importance of immunity management has become mainstream, with many households investing in a variety of approaches to staying healthy,” says Catherine Liu, health and wellbeing analyst for Mintel China. “COVID-19 has also fueled consumer demand for better immunity management, expanding from medicines to food therapies.” She adds that desire to strengthen immunity has moved beyond vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, to include healthy adults.
Chinese consumers are embracing a combination of Western and Chinese nutrition to improve immunity health. According to Mintel data, multivitamins (82%) are most associated with immunity, followed by protein and ginseng (both at 70%), probiotics and propolis (both at 63%), cordyceps (57%), and other herbal ingredients. Women are more concerned about protein and iron, men are more concerned about zinc and selenium, and consumers aged 18 to 24 are more interested in ginseng and ginger.
“From the brand product perspective, highlighting the health benefits of single nutrients front-of-pack can more effectively target specific customer groups. Non-generalized claims of a product as being nutritious would be more relevant,” Catherine suggests.
From the perspective of daily health management, more than 95% of the respondents believe that a balanced nutritional intake, adequate sleep, a positive mental state, and regular exercise are important to improve immunity.
“Many people feel they are not doing enough. Consumers find difficulty in managing enough sleep and an exercise routine, despite strong awareness of their desirable outcomes. Consumers are turning to a broader range of professional health experts for immunity management advice. Integrated product-service solutions will also be a market opportunity point in terms of how brands can more comprehensively offer credible products and services to consumers.”