China’s consumer electronics market, including sales of smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, cameras, headphones, and so on, had a market size of 126 billion RMB in 2019. It has grown continuously due to improvement of living standards of the population, and has replaced the United States as the world’s largest consumer electronics market in 2013. Today, the market has been shaped by the country’s continuous efforts of digitalization and the expansion of internet coverage. In 2020, the internet user penetration reached 80% in the urban population and 56% in the rural population. Considering the high level of digitalization, first-time users are unlikely to be the driving force of the demand of electronic devices in the near future. Instead, it is replacement demand, which is going to be the engine of the growth in this domain.
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In this highly connected and digitalized “mobile first nation”, smartphone is a must-have in daily life. People use smartphones in all the settings, from completing administrative procedures to mobile payment to street vendors. About 776 million people in China were using mobile payment via smartphones in March 2020, and the Central Bank has started large-scale experiments of digital currency.
A major trend in the Chinese market will be the popularization of 5G. As the network expands rapidly across the nation offering supreme internet speed, 5G support has become an important criterion for smartphone buyers, even in the low to mid-range market.
Laptop remains essential for many in China, even though some have replaced it with smartphones and tablets, especially for entertainment purpose. Chinese laptop users are now mainly composed of university students, professionals, and gamers.
The most significant trend in recent year is the expansion of gaming laptop segment, due to the technological advancements that have enabled the performance improvement of laptops. In a country where PC gaming is much more popular than gaming consoles, high-performance laptops are preferred by many Chinese gamers preferring mobility flexibility to gaming console or desktop computer.
In 2018, China’s smartwatch market was worth 183 billion RMB, vaunting a growth rate of 39.7%. Together, Huawei, Xiaomi and Apple currently control above 60% of the entire market, respectively accounting for 22.3%, 19.5% and 19.2% of smart wearables shipments in China Q4 2020.
In that same period, Chinese consumers mostly purchased smartwatches in the price range 401-500 USD and 101-200 USD.
According to Statista, in 2021 most of the revenues in the smart appliance industry was generated in China. The number of smart homes is expected to keep on growing steadily and active households are supposed to amount to 93.2 million users by 2025.
In general, young people between 25 and 34 years old belonging to the high-income group are the main category of consumers willing to purchase smart appliances for their home.