On November 15th, according to the South China Morning Post, why do Chinese consumers like Dyson so much? Analysts say the company is using stylish design, impressive technology and online stars to appeal to middle-class Chinese consumers.
Even in China, it is unusual for vacuum cleaner manufacturers to have large fans. But Dyson is really popular in this country.
Last year, it was reported that the new Airwrap hairstylist released by Dyson sold out in three minutes on the Tmall and sold out in just 15 seconds on the Beijing-East. This year, Dyson is said to be one of 84 brands with sales of 100 million yuan in an hour.
Dyson entered the Chinese market in 2012. Three years later, the company’s sales in China grew by 244%. Dyson’s wireless vacuum cleaners were particularly popular, with sales soaring 343 percent in 2016.
According to the People’s Daily, Dyson will have a 61% market share of Chinese vacuum cleaners in 2018. Zhongyikang, which focuses on the home appliance industry, estimates that Dyson’s share of China’s offline vacuum cleaner market is 39.9 per cent and its online share is 18.8 per cent. Both online and offline, Dyson is the largest vacuum cleaner brand in the Chinese market, an impressive achievement for a premium brand.
Dyson’s vacuum cleaners are not cheap, but are considered first-class in quality. The latest V11 Fluffy model costs about RMB 5,000. The old models were cheaper, but they also had to be thousands of dollars. While Chinese consumers have always favoured high-end brands such as Apple, home appliance brands are rarely sought after.
Jim Rowan, Dyson’s chief executive, told China Daily last year that “Chinese consumers want to embrace new technologies and are quite open to disruptive products.” “
James Dyson, the company’s founder, made a similar point in an interview with Nikkei Asia Watch. He noted that Dyson’s growth was due to “the huge demand for new technologies and excellent product design in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Technology investment is key to Dyson’s success, as is pricing. Although its products are expensive compared with similar products from other brands, they are also affordable for many Chinese consumers.
“Product innovation (research and development investment) is fundamental to Dyson’s success, but over the past few years Dyson has also done a good job of choosing where to sell and how to communicate. Rachel He, an analyst at Euromonitor International, said, “By adapting to changing market conditions, learning to listen to market demands, and actively communicating with modern Chinese consumers, it is now an affordable, easy-to-buy luxury.” “
Perhaps the true sign of a brand’s success in China is the emergence of counterfeits. In January, Chinese police shut down a company that sells counterfeit Dyson hair dryers and detained 36 people. The fakes sell for half as much as genuine Dyson hairdryers. It is reported that the fakes brought in tens of millions of dollars in income before they were investigated by the police.
As those fakes show, Dyson’s hair-related products are also popular in China, and some are as expensive as some of the company’s vacuum cleaners. In October last year, Dyson’s new $3,690 curling stick attracted widespread attention on Chinese social media, with people debating whether the product was worth its price. One of the first public articles about the product was quickly circulated, with 11 million hits reported to have been received in 24 hours.
Dyson told the U.S. luxury goods industry news media, Jingsun Media, that the company did not advertise to the public. But China Net Red does greatly amplify the product’s publicity effect.
In Airwrap’s online marketing campaign, Dyson teamed up with Seven Online on WeChat and Weibo. According to the IAI International Advertising Awards, they have more than 8 million views and more than 4 million video hits.
According to Rachel He of Euromonitor, attracting consumers through online red has proven to be a successful marketing tool for Dyson.
In an annual survey, Chinese consumers chose the most indispensable brand in their lives, with Dyson ranked 28th, ahead of local home appliance makers Beauty, Taobao and smartphone maker Vivo.
In a report this year, The Company, the brand and marketing consultancy that published the reports, said Dyson provided consumers with “fashion able-use design” and “exciting technology” while also using “effective, targeted e-commerce strategies”.
Mr. Dyson’s strategy includes setting high prices to cater to China’s rising middle class, which the company rarely uses because it fears it will damage its brand image, Mr. Platinum said. Mr. Dyson is also trying to attract tech-savvy male consumers on consumer electronics forums, and to appeal to women and the younger generation with different packaging and limited editions, Mr. Platinum said.
Mr Platinum said Dyson’s popularity in China showed that the younger generation of Chinese consumers were looking for unique and stylish brands and products to express their personalities. But China’s middle class remains a target group for high-end brands.
“Dyson’s popularity suggests that there is a fast-growing group of Chinese consumers willing to buy something higher to improve quality of life, to improve self-perception, or that we can call this group a rising middle class.” Rachel He, of Euromonitor International, says, “Consumers, especially in first-tier cities, are looking for beauty, quality of life and efficiency to cope with a high-stress, busy life.” “
Jim Rowan, Dyson’s chief executive, said Dyson was also chasing “aspiring people who are willing to spend more money” to help drive growth.
As Dyson’s popularity in Asia grows, the company now plans to move its headquarters to Singapore. In other words, the company’s headquarters will be in the fastest growing segment of the market. Dyson has set up a research and development laboratory in Shanghai and will be operational in 2017.