‘Exceptional opportunities for smaller brands’: Chinese millennials looking for new supplement stars

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

China's millennial generation is looking for "newer, smaller" brands, according to Australia's daigou and online retailer.  ©Getty Images
China's millennial generation is looking for "newer, smaller" brands, according to Australia's daigou and online retailer. ©Getty Images

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Australian e-commerce platform BuyNatural believes there are “exceptional opportunities” in China for local dietary supplement brands, with consumers eager to purchase “newer and smaller” brands.

BuyNatural recently launched botanical-based dietary supplements from Qenda and earlier on, olive leaf supplements from Wellgrove Health​ – also an Australian brand.  

BuyNatural’s CEO, Dr Mathew McDougall, said there was bound to be strong interest from Chinese consumers for quality Australian products due to COVID-19.

Chinese consumers, especially the millennial generation are looking to purchase ‘newer, smaller brands’ as they have grown bored with the larger established brands that their parents have used.

“This consumer shift is providing exceptional opportunities for Australian businesses looking to export markets,” ​he said.

With Qenda on board, he said he expected the brand to do “extremely well”​ amongst Chinese living in Australia, those living in China, as well as the daigou traders.

Qenda currently has eight products under its portfolio, including ashwagandha, turmeric powder and a botanical blend of powder for providing dietary fibre.

“We believe they would be well suited in the Chinese market; a consumer market that understands and values natural remedies,” ​he said.

He went on to identify digestion, blood sugar, cholesterol, and general wellbeing as some of the key concerns amongst Chinese consumers.

Australia remained China’s biggest health supplements exporter​ last year where imports had gone up by 9.2%.

Apart from China, BuyNatural will also distribute Qenda’s products in Australia.

BuyNatural is a part of Reach China and the firm assesses the brands to work with via a product council formed by a panel of Chinese consumers.

The assessment criteria include the price, taste, and the market demand for the product.

China seeks foreign brands

Major China online retailers are also wooing more overseas dietary supplement brands to sell on their platforms.

In an interview with NutraIngredients-Asia, China e-commerce giant JD.com said​ it had launched supplements from over 6,000 overseas brands on its platform in the past two years. Of which, over 4,000 of them are still selling on its platform.

In particular, foods for special medical purposes, antioxidants, probiotics, sleep aid, and infant nutrition products are the fastest growing categories.

Competitor firm Tmall Global said it planned to bring in 1,000 new brands into China in the next 12 months and supplements would be key​. It currently works with over 25,000 international brands across different product categories. 

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