Is ‘consumer-to-manufacturer’ the next big thing?

Consumer to manufacturer app

New apps are giving shoppers the power to group together to buy direct from manufacturers and secure reduced pricing. So, is C2M coming to the UK?


What’s the trend?
C2M

Which means…?
Consumer-to-manufacturer.

Not manufacturer to consumer?
Nope. The general idea is that new apps are giving shoppers the power to group together to secure reduced pricing when the buy direct from manufacturers.

Is it already a thing?
Not in the UK. But C2M is already set to be a £4.33bn market globally by the end of next year, according to delivery firm ParcelHero.

How does it work?
New apps such as Pinduoduo and Biyao are giving consumers the power to buy direct from the manufacturer and drive down prices. Users have the option to buy an item for its RSP immediately or to team up with others to get a significantly discounted price.

Is it coming to the UK?
ParcelHero seems to think so. It says C2M apps “will take Brits by storm. The company’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, says C2M originated in China where it is growing at over 24% a year.

So retailers would be cut out of the supply chain?
In a word, yes. Jinks is worried that it’s another major challenge for retail. While C2M is a win-win for manufacturers and shoppers, it’s another problem that retailers could do without. Big data from C2M sites also gives manufacturers a clearer idea about the demand for their products. For consumers, the option to shop as a team slashes prices.

How much can consumers save?
China’s Pinduoduo app enables them to secure savings from a typical 20% reduction up to 50% off or more. The shopper either starts a new team by inviting friends and family via social networks or joins an already existing group purchase. A team needs to be formed within 24 hours to have the order confirmed. Once a team is formed, the purchase is approved and the product is shipped within 48 hours.

Is it mainly non-food then?
In China, a huge range of items, including cosmetics, car accessories, tech and clothes is available – but consumers also use the apps for groceries and takeaways.

Is it a genuine threat?
Well, Pinduoduo is the fastest-growing app in China and ParcelHero believes that a similar app would have equal success here in the UK.

Would UK consumers take to it?
Brits are well-accustomed to the concept of group buying. Many already use Groupon, KGB Deals and Wowcher. The attraction of C2M sites, however, is that they put the shopper in the driving seat. Individuals can kick off a team purchase on whatever item they want from an app, without waiting for special offers.

Who’s using them in China?
C2M sites are particularly aimed at young consumers who think of shopping as a social activity, so there are also games, free products and social activities on the Pinduoduo app. Pinduoduo already has an English language site… and it has declared its ambition to become the world’s largest grocer.