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Last year, retail sales in China rose by 17 percent to $1.2 trillion — further evidence, if any was needed, that it's a market with unprecedented growth. The Bergström Report, which analyzes the lifestyles and consumerism of Chinese youth ages 15 to 25, has released the top factors young shoppers look for when buying a product. "The goal of this report is to help Chinese youth be better understood by developers and marketers," said Mary Bergstrom. Consumers are looking for products that are authentic, which will help them demonstrate their status, she added. "Status is critical in China. And they're buying high-end items. They live at home and are willing to save to buy things that will give them a higher social status amongst their peers."
Amount of respondents who said they consider this a factor when shopping: 77 percent
"People don't necessarily associate young shoppers as being quality conscious," said Bergstrom, founder of Bergström Trends and author of the Bergström Report. "But in China, this has to do with the country's history, where families are conscious of what they buy and do not want to be wasteful." She also pointed out that for retailers, the message here is that backing their products is essential. "China's youth may be internationally savvy, but they still have elements that are very Chinese that still speak to their culture," Bergstrom added.
"This factor is what I consider to be uniquely Chinese," said Bergstrom. "We're really talking about daily large events that happen on the street or in shopping centers that are brand- or product-specific. From runway fashion shows to spokesmodels to contests, there are all sorts of creative ways to get a customer attached to a brand." She cited "the perfect storm" for a promotion in China: an event that draws a crowd, there's a beneficial price reduction and it's only for a limited time. "In places such as Shanghai, the Grand Gateway is loaded with daily promotions from several brands." The mall itself has its fair share of high rollers in terms of retail: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council reported that in October 2006, "five brands — Paul & Shark, Hugo Boss, Versace, DKNY and Diesel — opened shops on the first floor of Grand Gateway in Shanghai."