​China’s nutraceutical market has been skyrocketing. From 2010 to 2019, the scale of China’s nutraceutical products market has gradually expanded. Statistics showed that in 2019, the size of the market was approximately 178.5 billion yuan. There are three main forces driving the industry’s fast development:

  • Increasing disposable income;
  • Ageing of the population;
  • Social stress;
  • Environmental problems (Air pollution, water pollution…)

With the increasing health awareness and the upgrade of healthy consumption in China, food supplements, especially imported ones are highly in demand in recent years, and they performed very well during this year’s Double Eleven. According to NutraIngredient- Asia, food supplements has a record high in sales in terms of GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) among all imported goods on Tmall.

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Bestsellers on Tmall and JD during the Double 11

As of 24:00 on November 11, China’s homegrown nutriceutical brand BY-Health’s total sales exceeded 400 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 57%, ranking first in sales on Tmall and JD during the Double Eleven annual shopping event for two consecutive years. The year-on-year growth of “Life-Space”, “BY HEALTH”, “Dr. Natural”, and “Healthy Vision” all exceeded 100%.

According to data from Alibaba, during Double 11, the total sales on Tmall platform of the “By-Health” brand exceeded 170 million yuan (USD 25m), and the official flagship store of By-Health ranked TOP1 in sales, leading the flagship store of dietary supplements.

Among them, the collagen and protein powder products have an excellent performance, winning the TOP1 in the Tmall collagen and protein powder category. “Life-Space” was leading in the Tmall cross-border health probiotics as well.

By-health was No.1 in sales on both Tmall and JD

According to data from JD.com, the total sales on JD of the By-Health during Double 11 exceeded 70 million yuan, an increase of 53% year-on-year, ranking the TOP1 brand in the JD nutrition and health category.

In addition, the protein powder of the brand was the TOP1 in the category; Life-Space’s probiotics were highly praised by consumers, and it has been ranked as the sales champion of probiotics by JD Global.

Overseas brands closely following behind

Overseas nutraceutical brands follow closely after By-Health and the food supplements are the most popular category among imported products in the Chinese market, followed by imported facial beauty tools and milk powder.

In addition, according to Tmall’s data, online flagship stores of Swiss, US’s MoveFree, Muscletech, GNC, UK’s Myprotein, and Australia’s Chemist Warehouse were included in the top 10, meaning that six out of ten are overseas nutraceutical brands and on JD platform, there are even 9 foreign brands are among the top 10 best-selling nutraceutical brands!

What’s more, overseas nutraceutical products with Omega-3 from seal oil containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were exceptionally well-received products.

Distribution channels of nutraceutical in China

At present, the sales channels of China’s food supplements products are mainly sold in three ways:

  • Direct sales;
  • E-commerce;
  • Pharmacies.

Due to the relatively short history of the health care product industry, consumers have limited brand awareness, and the choice of channels for health care product companies has become the core of corporate competition.

BY-HEALTH focuses on e-commerce and pharmacies, Herbalife, Amway, and Infinitus mainly focus on direct sales, while Melatonin focuses on large supermarkets, and Biostime focuses on maternal and child stores.

SWISS’s online shop on Tmall Global

E-commerce can help brands to reach more targets and not only

E-commerce is extremely well-developed in China, with Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall dominating the market and changing Chinese people’s shopping behaviors. 35.3% of China retail sales occur online and China represents more than 50% of the world’s e-commerce.

Selling online via Chinese e-commerce platforms or cross-border channels like Tmall Global can help brands to reach more targets. In addition, for overseas brands who don’t have a presence in China, selling through cross-border e-commerce can not only save time and money but also have a test on the market as a first entry into the unknown market.

Reputation is the key in selling nutraceutical in China

There is a new trend that more and more young people start to pay attention to nutraceutical in China, and not long ago, it was the middle-aged or even elderly people’s preference. However, no matter it concerns younger people or elerder people, social media plays a key role in nutraceutical brands’s success.

Social media and e-commerce are no new things to new middle-aged and elderly people in China since Chinese people are highly linked to their smartphones and strongly rely on the Internet to choose good products. Chinese people are very wary of unknown brands and products with a good reputation are perceived as premium and reliable. This makes e-commerce and community word-of-mouth recommendations essential for food supplement sales.

By-Health’s appealing social media activities

By-Health’s weekend bonus on WeChat

For instance, By-Health has created “By-Health Nutrition Academy” official account on WeChat-the Chinese largest social media, and invited more than 200 national nutritionists and more than 100 authoritative experts in medicine and nutrition to share knowledge and reply followers’ questions about nutrition and health. This has increased the brand awareness and promoted its reliability among Chinese targets.

Moreover, By-Health has been highly active in engaging its audience by community management. For instance, the company offers directly money to its followers in the form of a weekend bonus, as a result, a lot of users on WeChat were attracted and followed the brand and then get to know the brand and its products.

By-Health’s official account on Weibo-China’s largest open social media

By-Health is presented on everywhere on Chinese social media, trying to get as much attention in the Chinese nutraceutical market with giant potential.

As the above picture shows, By-Health has also an official account on Weibo-China’s largest social network. This platform is very suitable for event marketing and boosting brand awareness since it’s open for everyone. Every content on the platform can be seen by anyone who surfs on the platform.

Nutraceutical brands should stay relevant with China’s digital transformation

On the one hand, the demand for nutraceutical products is growing rapidly in China, and on the other hand, the industry is also changing rapidly: consumers are becoming more mature and changing their consumption habits. Traditional distribution channels are changing as well.

The Internet and digitalization have changed the way companies interact with consumers and create value. And there are constantly new competitors entering the industry with business model innovation. In the evaluative Chinese market, only by keeping relevant can businesses have a lead over peers.

GMA has been working with foreign brands for their entry into the Chinese market since 2012. As an expert in the Chinese market and Chinese digital marketing, we are your perfect partner who is capable to work out a successful strategy for businesses in different industries.

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