Introduction to Ferrero Rocher’s Market Strategy in China
Ferrero Rocher, an iconic global chocolate brand, has carved a unique niche in China’s confectionery market, particularly with its Ferrero Rocher (金莎) chocolates. The brand’s success story in China is not just a tale of a product’s popularity but a masterclass in market adaptation and cultural integration.
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Key Insights into Ferrero Rocher’s Strategy in China
- Cultural Resonance and Preference: Ferrero Rocher’s appeal in Guangdong and other parts of China can be attributed to its alignment with local cultural preferences. The brand is particularly favored in Guangdong, where it is seen as the chocolate of choice.
- Social Status and Festive Traditions: The consumption of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in Guangdong around festive seasons like Christmas and New Year has become a symbol of social status. The brand has ingeniously positioned itself as a luxury item, making it a sought-after gift during these occasions.
- Economic Impact: Ferrero Rocher’s popularity significantly impacts the local economy, especially in regions like Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau. The brand’s sales are so substantial that they are seen as a contributor to the region’s GDP.
- Consumer Base and Market Share: Nationwide, Ferrero Rocher enjoys a significant market share. Its popularity among young and middle-aged women, particularly those with financial capability, highlights the brand’s understanding of its target audience.
- Product Adaptation and Marketing Strategy: Ferrero Rocher’s success is also due to its strategic product adaptation. The brand’s decision to package its chocolates in gold, which resonates with the Chinese preference for luxury and prosperity, and its unique spherical shape that maximizes display volume, are key factors in its appeal.
A long history with China
Ferrero Rocher has established a strong foothold in the Chinese chocolate market, especially as a preferred choice for gifting. Unlike Western consumers who often consume chocolate daily, Ferrero Rocher in China is positioned not as an everyday snack but as a high-end gift.
Originally entering the Hong Kong market, where supermarkets were the main sales channel, Ferrero Rocher carved out its niche by partnering exclusively with Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa, focusing solely on Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls. These chocolates were prominently displayed in Watsons stores, a retail chain under Hutchison Whampoa, particularly during traditional festivals like Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. The gold-wrapped chocolates appealed to Chinese aesthetics that favor opulence and extravagance.
This strategic placement and packaging turned Ferrero Rocher into a festive and celebratory staple in China. The Chinese, valuing the presentation and face during festivals, don’t hesitate to spend on lavish gifts like Ferrero Rocher, which became a symbol of luxury and sophistication.
The brand further solidified its presence through extensive advertising on CCTV, ingraining the concept that Ferrero Rocher is the go-to choice for family reunions and as a gift to relatives and friends. The brand’s marketing around Valentine’s Day and in wedding candies also played a significant role in embedding Ferrero Rocher in Chinese gifting culture.
Interestingly, Ferrero Rocher’s pricing strategy in China is unique. The larger the package, the higher the price per piece, which contrasts with the usual pricing strategies where larger packs offer better value. This strategy aligns with the Chinese preference for spending more on gifts to showcase generosity.
Kinder Joy or 奇趣蛋
Ferrero Rocher, renowned for its Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls, has another significant product in its portfolio that has captivated the Chinese market: Kinder Joy eggs, or 奇趣蛋 in Chinese. These eggs, aimed primarily at children, have become a cultural phenomenon in China due to their unique appeal. Here are some key insights into the success of Kinder Joy eggs in the Chinese market:
- Appeal to Children’s Market: Kinder Joy eggs, first introduced by the Ferrero Group in the 1970s, cater specifically to children. Upon their introduction in China in 2007, they rapidly gained immense popularity among young consumers.
- Innovative Product Design: The product draws inspiration from Western Easter eggs. Each egg is half-filled with chocolate and the other half with a variety of small toys, appealing to children’s sense of surprise and delight.
- Gender-Specific Variants: The eggs come in two versions: blue for boys, typically containing toys like Hot Wheels cars, and pink for girls, usually featuring toys like Barbie dolls. Despite their simple nature, the toys’ low repetition rate and wide range make them highly desirable.
- “DIY” Assembly and The Ikea Effect: The toys within the Kinder Joy eggs require assembly, enhancing their value in the eyes of the consumer. This involvement in creating the toy adds to the perceived value of the product, a phenomenon known as the “Ikea effect.”
- Stimulating Collection Desire: Each egg includes a slip of paper showcasing other toys in the series, encouraging children to collect the entire set. This aspect of the product taps into the natural human tendency to collect and complete sets.
- Economic Impact and Growth: Kinder Joy eggs have been a significant driver of Ferrero’s global market growth, particularly in Asia. They have notably contributed to the company’s profit growth, with their success attributed to effective marketing strategies and product appeal.
- Price Strategy: Despite being priced higher than other Ferrero products, Kinder Joy eggs offer a similar quantity of chocolate as a standard Ferrero Rocher ball. The additional cost is attributed to the toy and the unique experience it offers.
Ferrero’s Social Media Strategy in China 2024: Tapping into Xiaohongshu and Douyin
Xiaohongshu/Little Red Book: Engaging the Urban Young Women
Xiaohongshu, also known as Little Red Book, is a crucial social media platform in China, particularly for reaching young, urban women who are keen on sharing and have a high regard for quality of life. The content on Xiaohongshu is authentic and interactive, making it an ideal platform for publicizing chocolate products. Ferrero, by leveraging the platform’s features like information flow and keyword search, can effectively engage with this demographic.
Strategies on Xiaohongshu could include various forms of product marketing and brand building. These may range from posting eye-catching graphics to collaborations combining Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) with product promotions. Additionally, employing short videos, live streaming, and interactive Q&A sessions can further enhance engagement and brand visibility.
Douyin: Maximizing Reach with Influencers and Interactive Content
Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, boasts a massive user base and sophisticated algorithms, making it a pivotal platform for product promotion. In China, a plethora of food influencers, lifestyle bloggers, and live streamers are actively engaging audiences with content focused on snack reviews, shared snack experiences, holiday-themed marketing, and distribution of discount coupons. These approaches often yield high interaction and conversion rates.
For a brand like Ferrero, leveraging Douyin’s format can lead to the accumulation of valuable data assets, such as user profiles, placement data, and transaction information. This data can be instrumental in driving more efficient and scientifically grounded business optimization strategies. By using Douyin’s platform, Ferrero can significantly boost its brand presence and product appeal among a diverse and engaged audience.
Ferrero’s engagement on platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin represents a keen understanding of China’s dynamic social media landscape. By tailoring its content and marketing strategies to these platforms, Ferrero can effectively connect with key consumer segments, enhance brand recognition, and drive sales in the competitive Chinese market. This approach demonstrates the importance of adapting to local platforms and trends to achieve success in international markets.
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