Region/Countries: Asia, China Industry: Biosciences / Medical Devices, Other Date: February 2021

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: These consumers vastly prefer imports to domestically made products.

In recent years, internet search terms such as “hair loss” and “insomnia” have gained popularity, reflecting the health concerns of the Chinese population as those born in the '90s become aware of the issues that come with aging. This internet-savvy group of consumers has shown a willingness to spend money on health care products, including vitamins and supplements, anti-aging cosmetics and electronic devices, to help them age more gracefully, and this trend is only expected to continue to grow.

According to data from iMedia Research, the market size of China's health care product industry reached ¥222.7 billion ($34.3 billion USD) in 2019, with a year-over-year increase of 18.5%. With sales expected to hit ¥330 billion ($51 billion USD) this year, China is poised to become the world’s second-largest market for health care products. Data from market consultancy CBN also shows that consumers born after 1990 have become the main consumption driver over the past three years. In 2020, health care products consumption among the post-90s generation has exceeded 25% of total consumption. According to a report from the Sootoo Institute, only 3.9% of those born after 1990 in China report never using health care products. Half of this demographic reports occasional use of health care products, and 21.9% reports regular, long-term use of health care products.

Data from several e-commerce platforms shows that young people prefer imported over domestic health care products, with Australian and U.S. brands the most preferred. The Tmall platform has more than 90 different kinds of ingredients and more than 800 brands of imported health care products. People born in the 1980s account for 60% of consumption of imported health care products, and people born in the 1990s account for nearly 40%, indicating that the demand for imported health care products should only continue to grow.

As early as 2012, Xinhua News predicted that China would become the largest market in the global health industry. In 2016, the State Council issued and implemented the Outline of the Healthy China 2030 Plan, providing strong support for the health industry, including health care products, and since then health has been a high priority across Chinese society. “Healthy China,” mentioned again at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, held at the end of October 2019, encompasses a mindset shift from treatment to prevention, accompanied by a health care market of nearly ¥8 trillion ($1.2 trillion USD). In comparison with health care products in developed countries, per capita spending on health care products in China is still quite small, but with the shifting focus and growing demand among younger generations, this consumption seems bound to increase.