SHANGHAI – Jeremy Pagden, Chairman of The Integer Group®, addressed a select group of marketing and retail professionals at a ‘Retail Therapy’ event last week. In his address, Pagden suggested that within the next few years, the shopper marketing industry in China is to become the second largest in the world, following the U.S. This growth is unique to China, where the shopper marketing industry is less than 10 years old.

The bold prediction comes as figures on retail sales in China for the first quarter of 2011 reached 16.3% growth[1] compared to 1%[2] in the U.S. At the same time, global solutions in shopper marketing are effectively working across both online, and bricks and mortar retail.

The Integer Group’s ‘Retail Therapy’ event featured a line up of the U.S. and China’s leading shopper marketing experts covering all aspects of the industry from Chinese customer behaviour insights, the relationship between online and retail shopping through to a showcase of the best retail outlet designs in Asia.

Ellen Hou, Head of Planning at TBWA\Shanghai, revealed the results of an ethnographic study into shopper behavior in the health supplement category. The research looked at shoppers in a real situation rather in a ‘lab’ and revealed the myths of shopper behavior and challenged many category assumptions. Findings included the following:

· There is a new shopper within the health supplement category. Men in their twenties who are used to being looked after and pampered by their families and want to continue to look after themselves, do research and invest in vitamins, grooming treatments and healthcare remedies;

· Impulse purchase is high in this category. But in different channels there are different incentives behind this such as knowledge sharing, cross category dialogues and interpersonal consulting.

· Post-sales habits are crucially important to creating brand loyalty. The study looked at how a new purchase was used and stored at home, and found that community reassurance after a purchase was a key factor in repeat purchase, as shoppers continued to seek information and validation online and through friends after purchase.

“Shopper Marketing in China is developing at a much faster rate than any other country in the world,” commented Pagden. “We’re fortunate to have an outstanding agency in Integer China, whose experts conduct research that helps them know Chinese shoppers inside out, as well as draw upon creative solutions from other markets and apply them to Chinese clients. This proves they are leading the way in the shopper marketing space.”

“Learning from the research, and incredibly creative work from Integer in the US, allows us to apply the latest ideas and technologies as solutions for our clients in China,” commented Eric Wong, Managing Director of Integer China. “Bringing our global leaders to China reiterates the fact that as part of a global network we can consistently remain extremely competitive in the local shopper marketing industry.”

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[1] National Bureau of Statistics, China
[2] U.S. Commerce Department

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