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Millennial purchasing power to fuel demand at Interior Lifestyle China 2019

15 Jul 2019

The concept of a status symbol has long driven Chinese consumer power in many markets. Expensive items such as designer apparel and cars are clear external and social indicators of financial success. However, one major generation of Chinese consumers, millennials, now looks inwards to the home, in order to express their identity and lifestyle through thoughtful interior design. Mid-range to high-end exhibitors from around the world are preparing to access these opportunities at Interior Lifestyle China 2019, to be held from 11 – 13 September 2019 in Shanghai.

Millennial visitors at Interior Lifestyle China 2018

Millennial visitors at Interior Lifestyle China 2018

Who influences China’s interior design decisions?

Home renovation has become another opportunity for social media exchange in China, as homeowners can share their progress on platforms such as Yidoutang, a well-known lifestyle app in China that provides a niche platform for home living.

Yidoutang analysed data, including surveys, from 20 million users for their 2019 Home Life and Consumption Report. In China’s home industry, traditional brand marketing is less of an influence as “bottom up” branding prevails. The report indicates that decisions are increasingly made based on the recommendations of friends, fellow social media users and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), or influencers. This has created a consumer-led market, where KOLs represent a desirable lifestyle that influences consumers’ home design choices.

What potential lies in the China interior design market?

Approximately 200,000 yuan (around USD 29,000) per renovation, and increasing, according to the report, which found that the average user’s decoration budget increased by 8% in 2018. For the millennial generation in China, interior design has become an outlet for expressing identity and taste. Different styles – Asian and European, traditional and modern – are mixed and matched, with more consumers opting for “affordable luxury” with a touch of warmth and function, rather than extravagance.

Aesthetics aside, there is increasing demand for home products that embody consumers’ desired lifestyles, and a predicted rise in demand for smart home technology. With functionality woven into every aspect of the design, home products can support a lifestyle rather than just decorate it.

Mr Jay Lin is the Manager of the Marketing Department at Newtime (China), who will exhibit overseas craftsmanship, particularly Japanese designs, at Interior Lifestyle China 2019. He commented, “All traditional crafts must cater to the market in order to continue their inheritance. Therefore, more brands use the power of design to seek new breakthroughs and renew vitality. These products mainly focus on “life props” which are closely related to our daily life rather than impractical works of art.”

How is the Chinese home changing?

Yidoutang’s report also noted modern home renovations. Spaces are now preferred to be open, multi-functional areas that can adapt to accommodate socialising and family activities.

Exhibitors at Interior Lifestyle China open up opportunities by releasing products and technologies specifically designed for this emerging trend. This includes exhibitor Serafino Zani (China)’s new line of IHC thermostat patented technology. The traditional Chinese cooking art “wok hei”, literally “breath of the wok”, creates a certain charred taste and texture by adding cold oil and fresh ingredients to extreme heat. With Chinese kitchens now becoming integrated with social spaces, Serafino Zani (China)’s new line combats the smoky and oily side effect of this cooking method.

Mr Ryan Liao, General Manager of Serafino Zani (China) explained, “At Serafino Zani, with our strengths lying in R&D, we design more products that fit the needs of the Chinese market. We also developed seven new kitchen utensils designed for Chinese consumers' habits. The key to success in the Chinese market is to maintain consistent consumer awareness and perceptions of Western household products. Participating in Interior Lifestyle China has enhanced our exposure on sales channels.”

The fair offers unique access to the Chinese market

Overseas exhibitors, like Germany’s Hailo, also report success in the China market as their products are commonly associated with high quality. Mr Jörg Lindemann, CEO of Hailo, noted, “The Chinese market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, which makes it extraordinarily interesting for global players like Hailo. The lifestyle and living habits of the generation born during the 80s and 90s are also very Western. As their spending power rises, many products that are popular overseas also become popular in mainland China, due to the rapid development of online marketing and social platforms.”

The theme of this year’s fair “It’s My Lifestyle!” will emphasise mid-range to high-end products with appealing designs, that also cater to an ideal lifestyle concept. As market trends show an increasing use of social media to share home design styles, this year’s theme will showcase products that reflect identity and personality, in cooperation with online lifestyle influencers.

In 2018, Interior Lifestyle China featured 437 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions, establishing the fair as an ideal place for overseas brands to access the China and wider Asian market. A record 23,570 visitors attended last year’s fair.

Interior Lifestyle China 2019 is organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd. For more information about the fair, please visit


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