5 Accelerating Trends in China Since COVID-19

Over 2020 till now, COVID-19 has spread across the world, uniting humanity in a shared experience that has highlighted the vulnerability of our societies. As the first country to grapple with the crisis, China has been on the frontlines of both post-COVID-19 recovery, and of the societal changes the pandemic has precipitated.

As that recovery takes shape, several important shifts in the make-up of China’s economic landscape have already become apparent. COVID-19 has accelerated pre-existing trends, ushering in the arrival of a future we were likely already on track to realise.

Trend 1 – Digitization

Digital tools became increasingly popular solutions, expanding from B2C to B2B

B2C & B2B

COVID-19 has not only accelerated digitisation in business-to-consumer (B2C) applications and channels, but also the traditionally less digitised part of the economy, such as areas requiring physical interactions, and business-to-business (B2B) processes.

Mobile Survey

Based on our mobile surveys of Chinese consumers, about 55 percent are likely to continue buying more groceries online after the peak of the crisis. Nike’s first-quarter digital sales in China increased 30 percent on the year after the company launched home workouts vie its mobile app, while property platform Beike said agent-facilitated property viewings on its virtual reality showroom in February increased by almost 35 times compared with the previous month.

Digitization is not only accelerating in the typical business-to-consumer (B2C) applications and channels, but is also gaining traction in the traditionally less digitised part of the economy, such as areas requiring heavy physical interactions and business-to-business (B2B) processes.



Trend 2 – Declining Global Exposure

Rising importance of domestic markets, technology, and capital

Localised Economic

Before COVID-19, China had been reducing its relative exposure to the world as the majority of economic growth was generated by domestic consumption, supply chains matured and localised, and its innovation capacities were enhanced.

Global Trade

Global trade and investment has slowed sharply, and the movement of people has become highly restricted.


Trend 3 – Rising Competitive Intensity

Technology and agility drive winners to capture the lion’s share of the industry value.

China’s leading companies retain an outsize share profits and return on investment, but cut-throat competition threatens their position. COVID-19 will raise competitive intensity, creating even bigger rewards, and risks, for companies in China.


Trend 4 – Consumers Come of Age

Consumers (Especially the young) are becoming more prudent and health-conscious.

China’s affluent younger generation had never experienced a domestic economic downturn prior to COVID-19. The virus has forced them to think harder about spending, saving, and trade-offs in purchasing behaviour. Attitudes to spending among consumers in their 20s and 30s, traditionally the engine of China’s consumption growth, have changed markedly in the wake of COVID-19. The virus has also forced purchasing trade-offs, with consumers seeking better quality and healthier options.


Trend 5 – Private and Social Sectors Step Up

Presentations are communication tools that can be used as demonstrations and lectures

Social Institutions

During the 2003 SARS outbreak, the government and state-owned enterprises were the primary actors during the economic recovery. Now, the private sector and leading technology companies are playing a more significant role, making large socioeconomic contributions amid the emergence of powerful social institutions that have donated millions to recovery efforts


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