Mark Tanner
Mark Tanner
2 September 2015 0 Comments

In 2012, less than 5% of China’s online shopping was done on a mobile.  Nowadays, more than half of all sales in China’s massive ecommerce market are made though a smartphone.  China’s shift to smartphones has taken online shopping by storm – and all aspects of the Internet, with 89% of China’s 668 million internet users accessing through a smartphone.  

However Chinese consumers’ connection with their smartphones and retail goes beyond the online world.  More than three quarters of them will pull out their phone in a physical store to research a product or service’s price, reviews, competitors, specifications, heritage and how and why to use something, before making a purchase.  

A Chinese mobile site should not only load swiftly, but also meet the requirements of a consumer who is out and about – needs that can be quite different from researching on a desktop in the office or at home.  It’s becoming increasingly common for brands to build a website primarily for mobiles, and optimise it for desktops in China.

Apps are another popular way consumers are connecting with brands on their smartphones.  In fact, more time is spent online on apps than web browsing.  China’s most popular app WeChat, accounts for half of the time spent on the mobile Internet -meaning Chinese generally prefer app functions to be integrated into an Official WeChat Account, rather than a standalone app which they have to download and open separately.  

There are some exceptions where consumers enthusiastically embrace a brand’s standalone app, such as L’Oreal’s  which has been downloaded almost 5 million times, and even niche ecommerce apps such as FruitDay and Stardrobe.  These apps have been developed by companies who understand consumer needs and develop and market apps to meet them in compelling ways.  China Skinny can help with that.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny.  

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers


Switching Gears: Chinese Consumers Drive Surge in Gasoline SalesConsumer-driven growth of gasoline demand in China is helping soften declining demand for diesel from industries, further illustrating the importance of the consumer class in China’s economy.

Foreign Experts Confident Of China’s Long-Term Prospects, Rejecting Blame For Causing Economic ReversalsCommentators from around the world believe the current volatility in China’s currency and stock markets is perfectly normal as China transitions to a higher value consumer and services-based economy and remain positive about China’s future. 77% of Chinese consumers said they would not reduce near-term spending on goods and services in response to the stock market correction according to MKM.  Many Chinese media outlets’ coverage of plummeting stocks has been limited.

Protection Of The Chinese Equivalent For Its English TrademarkExamples and reasons as to why some brands successfully challenge the right to their Chinese language trademarks, and others don’t.

Fake Sprouts Growing Out Of Your Head Is Now A Thing In BeijingThe latest craze sweeping China are small plastic sprouts appearing to grow from the top of wearers’ heads. Speculators say it could be inspired by a character in the popular cartoon ‘Pleasant Goat and the Big Bad Wolf”, or it could be a celebration of the blue skies in Beijing due to banned cars and closed factories leading up to the celebration of the Allied forces victory in WWII on September 3.

Online: Internet, Social Media, Mobiles & Ecommerce


Five Keys To Connecting With China’s Wired ConsumersChina’s ecommerce market is likely to exceed that of the U.S. and Europe combined within three years. Five keys to realising the opportunity are: 1) Adopt an integrated platform strategy; 2) Understand China’s vast network of distributors; 3) Harness the power of social media; 4) Leverage China’s growth in location based services; and 5) Work with platforms to understand China’s consumers.

China’s BAT Dominate Mobile User EngagementApps associated with Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent account for 60% of time spent on mobiles in China, with WeChat accounting for more than half of time for consumers in metro areas. Chinese consumers spend 18.2 hours a week on mobile internet activities, of which 9.2 hours were on WeChat according to Forrester research.

Premium Food & Beverage


More Cheese, Please! Exporters Toast China’s Taste For Pizza And CakesRestaurants and bakeries account for up to 80% of China’s cheese market, with the 300 million pizzas sold in China each year contributing to the growth. Cheese for children as a healthy snack accounts for as much as 20% of the market for consumers.

Changyu Chief Winemaker: Embrace The ‘New Norm’ Of Chinese MarketChina’s biggest wine producing company, Changyu, is set to nurture a new generation of wine consumers through characterful branded wines that are easier to drink and understand, and wine tourism including the 400-hectare ‘Changyu International Wine City’, expected to open to the public next year.

Aus Beef Goes Online To ChinaChinese consumers are able to buy Australian chilled beef direct online for the first time following a deal with JD and Bindaree Beef.

Overseas Chinese Tourists


Adventurous Chinese Holidaymakers Search For Extreme Thrills Abroad Says New Data16% of urban Chinese consumers say they would be interested in doing extreme sports whilst on holiday, which will be further helped by locals like Zhang Shupeng who broke the world record for wingsuit flying without an oxygen mask in April this year. 74% of consumers are interested in trying the local food when on holiday, with 23% keen to learn how to cook local food in the country they are travelling in according to Mintel.

Swiss Railway Launches Special Trains For Chinese Tourists Following Complaints Of Rude BehaviourHalf of all foreign visitors who ride Rigi Bahnen’s stunning railway through the Swiss Alps are Chinese. “Their strong presence is a challenge,” according to the CEO, and prompted the launch of 20 special trains a week for Asian tourists, where toilets will reportedly be cleaned more often and signs added “showing how to use them correctly.”

Clothes and Fashion


Want A Star’s Wardrobe? Chinese Entrepreneur Sells Celebrity Styles With A Mathematical ApproachChinese app Stardrobe has carved out a niche in China’s booming online fashion commerce industry by using algorithms to identify the fashion that celebrities are wearing and provide links to similar clothes that consumers can buy. 60 million users have registered, with 15 million active a month.

How Much Do Top Fashion Brands Really Depend on China?Swatch is the foreign fashion brand most reliant on Chinese consumers shopping in China and internationally, accounting for 49% of its global revenue. Richemont follows with 41% of sales, Ferragamo at 38%, Gucci and Hermès at 35%.

Health and Beauty


Why Millions in China Downloaded L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius App4.7 million Chinese consumers have downloaded L’Oreal’s ‘Makeup Genius’, which allows them to use their smartphone as a mirror and see how they’d look with different cosmetics, including heavier makeup which is still uncommon in China.

Premium &: Luxury


China’s Luxury Ecommerce Boom Means ‘Ostrich’ Brands Lose Out74% of all Chinese consumers have bought luxury products online, with 40% having done it more than five times in the past year. Among those under 25 years old, 94% want to buy online in the future, and 88% in the 25-34 age group wish to do so according to Exane BNP Paribas.

Investment and Banking


A Hundred Apps Bloom in China as Millions Bank on Their Phones390 million consumers in China have registered to use mobile banking, part of the booming online payments sector.

That’s the Skinny for the week! See previous newsletter here. Contact China Skinny for marketing, research and digital advice and implementation.