Marketing executives in the West are busy checking the stats for Chinese social media to better inform how they promote their brands on social media.
Getting to grips with the country’s wide and complex social media community and developing a strategy for reaching consumers lies at the heart of many brands hoping to succeed in China.
For many marketers, the stats help to tell a story and define social media usage. According to Marketing to China: “Platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo have more than 300 million users, while Meilishuo, a popular social shopping website grabs about 30 million users per month. Experts say that within next 5 years, China is expected to reach $271 billion from online shopping.”
But do the stats tell marketing executives anything really useful?
- 47% of Chinese consumers watch videos and television on tablets.
- Much is made of the affluent rich who live in the big cities but marketers who concentrate only on Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities are bypassing the vast majority of China’s citizens. While there are just 4 Tier 1 cities with over 16 million inhabitants, Tier 3 and 4 cities and towns boast over 161 million people.
- 82% of Chinese netizens are buying online more than any other country including Germany and the USA.
- 22% of China’s internet users believe that sharing on social media is an expression of their own personality and 30% believe it is driven by creativity.
- China’s mobile shopping increased by 168% in 2013 and is estimated to almost double that in 2014. If the trend increases, by 2017 it will have increased by over 1,000%.
- The preferred format for advertising in China is the use of coupons (33%) and video (36%), with the best time to reach out to netizens on their mobiles being when they are on the way to work or at weekends.
- While it might not occur to consumers in the West, 61% of china’s netizens would consider actually buying a car online.
- WeChat is the fastest growing app internationally, outstripping everyone else. Its success has made Tencent the first Chinese internet brand to succeed out of the mainland and is set to make big inroads throughout 2014 and beyond. For many industry experts, WeChat is still the one to watch.
- 74% of netizens shop online to get a lower price while 78% also worry about the authenticity of the product they are buying.
Perhaps one of the more influential trends is that China’s ecommerce growth is back on the rise again, estimated to be worth $540 billion by the end of 2014. Industry experts believe that this is in part being driven by the lower Tier cities which lack the stores of their more affluent neighbours. According to China Briefing: “While there are plenty of physical shopping options in China’s larger cities, lower-tier cities cater less to international luxury brands. In light of this demand, the internet has allowed many retailers to offer goods to consumers in lower-tier cities and further afield without the need and cost of setting up a physical outlet.”
It’s a stat that suggest Western brands should be moving out from the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities to the places where most of the Chinese population are living.