Social Constructs & The Role of Gifting

While interpreting certain behavior solely through the lens of Confucianism can be misleading, often oversimplifying complex issues, it is worth taking a broad approach to Chinese social constructs and observing how these play out in the ways consumers interact with brands. The role of gifting in Chinese society should not be underestimated or overlooked by producers looking to position their products and brand.

Data published by the China Gift Industry Institute show that Chinese spent more than US $ 122 billion on gift-related purchases in 2012 alone. Gifting affects nearly all product categories and brands and can have larger implications in terms of a company’s specific marketing strategies and packaging designs.

Moreover, gift-related purchases are inextricably linked to broader Chinese concepts like face and guanxi and play an outsized role in the Chinese market and in Chinese consumer behavior. Recent work in the area of gifting reinforces our previous observations that the individual consumer’s place in wider society, and the perception of that person by the group remain important influences on individual behavior. Gifting is a useful lens through which to view Chinese social constructs as it incorporates many different aspects of Chinese society, such as face and hierarchy.