Mark Tanner
Mark Tanner
14 October 2015 0 Comments

There’s no shortage of research and analysis emphasising the pulling power that digital channels have over Chinese consumers.  Most of these studies focus on ecommerce and social media, whereas good old-fashioned websites typically don’t get due credit.

PWC research earlier this year found that 85% of online Chinese consumers choose a digital channel as the first step in researching a new product, with brand websites cited as one of the main avenues when seeking information.

Yet with millions of websites vying for attention, sites should have more than just an excellent technical back-end and intuitive usability. They need content that Chinese consumers want.  Localising a website isn’t just translating your Western site’s pages word for word, but understanding your Chinese target market’s needs, desires and concerns, and tailoring content to meet them.

To ensure your content is relevant, it’s best to consider how your site fits into the customer journey.  China Skinny’s research has found the most common time Chinese consumers visit a brand website is in the early awareness and education stages, moving onto other channels such as online shopping or booking sites and physical stores when they are more familiar and comfortable with your brand.  With that in mind, website content should have a strong focus on education, particularly for foreign brands that aren’t well known and in less familiar categories.

With 89% of online Chinese accessing the Internet through a mobile, it’s also imperative that your mobile content fits the context of where they are, and what type of information they are seeking when on a smartphone – those needs are often quite different than when they’re on a desktop.

In short, websites are a key touch point in the customer journey.  A well considered and marketed site is one of the most cost-effective channels to build awareness, educate and increase purchase intent.

Speaking of websites, has had a refresh.  Our new site tells our story better, with more information about us and our marketing, research and digital services.  All the old favourites are there including previous Weekly Skinnys, infographs from WeChat to wine, and updated City-Nator population figures so you can check how your city stacks up against Chinese cities. Like everything we do, we’re always looking for ways to make it better, so please let us know your feedback – good or bad.  Likewise, if China Skinny can assist to make your Chinese website and overall marketing more effective, contact us today.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny.

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

‘Carmageddon’: 50-Lane Traffic Jam in China Causes Chaos: This year’s Golden Week buzzword was ‘Carmageddon’, summed up by the 50-lane gridlock as Beijingers returned home on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau ‘Expressway’. They made up a small part of the estimated 750 million Chinese who travelled during this year’s Golden Week. Beijing alone, received an estimated 11.5 million visitors during the week.

Sales Up Over The Holiday: Shanghai retail sales over the Golden Week holiday increased 10.3% from last year. Jewellery was up 31.6% and cosmetics grew 23.7%. Similarly, Beijing’s sales were up 6.2%. Travellers took 63 million train trips in the first six days of the holiday, 8.8% more than last year, with ticket revenue up 18.5%. Plane trips increased 10%.

Chinese Millennials Come Into Their Own: The 415 million-strong group of 80s and 90s-born consumers outnumber the working population of the U.S. and Europe. Their average income is expected to more than double in the next decade to $13,000, with spending power growing from $2.4 trillion to $5 trillion according to Goldman Sachs. 68 million Chinese born in the 90s and 39 million in the 80s have university degrees, versus just 8 million of those born in the 70s. 95 million were born in cities, but 245 million now live in urban areas.

Buzzwords: Chinese Families: Family forms the foundation of China’s society and is therefore a great place to understand Chinese consumers.

Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids: China’s second-generation rich kids, the fuerdai, are the most loathed group in the country. They’re also its future. Family businesses account for 85% of non-state-owned enterprises, but 82% of second-generation heirs aren’t willing to take over their family business.

Online: Internet, Mobiles, Social Media & Ecommerce

11-11 Single’s Day 2015: What to Expect: China Skinny was in Hangzhou yesterday to find out what Alibaba has planned for the world’s biggest day of online shopping this year.

The Value of WeChat Official Accounts: There were 330 million monthly WeChat users in China in Dec 2014, accessing the app 7.8 times and spending a total of 18 minutes a day on average according to iResearch. 126 million Weibo app users used the app 1.8 times and spent 4.2 minutes a day.

Xiaomi Under Investigation for Misleading Advertising: Xiaomi’s use of adjectives such as ‘the best’ and ‘the most advanced’ has seen it become the first company to be investigated since advertising laws banning superlatives were introduced last month.

Premium Food & Beverage

Chinese Diets Set to Beef up Demand for Agricultural Commodities: The average Chinese adult is expected to eat 60kg of meat this year, up from 46kg in 2003. That’s around 15 billion extra kilos of pigs, fish, chickens, cows and sheep a year.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

China’s Golden Week Sends a Wave of Chinese Tourists Abroad: An estimated four million Chinese travelled abroad this Golden Week, 11% more than last year. The growth is contributing to an overall increase in Chinese tourists from 116 million in 2014 to 242 million by 2024 according to CEIC.

Chinese sport Sports

One Chinese Sector That’s Still in the Game: Chinese are showing increasing interest in sports, reflected in results such as Nike’s 30% growth last quarter. The number of marathons and marathon runners in the country doubled between 2011 and 2014, and Chinese Basketball Association’s finals saw 50% more viewers a game this year than last.

Video and Entertainment

Rich Chinese Can Have In-Home IMAX Theater Systems for $400,000: Fresh off the back of its IPO in Hong Kong, Imax is banking on wealthy Chinese villa-dwellers shelling out $400,000 for its 6 x 3 metre screen and pimped sound systems. On the subject of films, Stephen Colbert’s 6 minute Youtube parody of Hollywood’s posturing to Beijing is worth a viewing.

Overall Health

More Working Women in China Freeze Their Eggs: Chinese women are increasingly going abroad for fertility treatment, with procedures such as freezing eggs unavailable to women in the Mainland unless they have cervical cancer or other diseases. The average age of a Chinese mother at the birth of her first child has grown from less than 23 in 1981, to over 28 in 2010. It is 25 in the U.S.

Autos and Cars

This Is Why Chinese Consumers Suddenly Stopped Buying Autos: Economic uncertainty, stock market falls, urban congestion, urban transport availability and taxi hailing apps are the top-5 reasons Chinese consumers believe auto sales have slowed down this year according to YouGov and Bernstein. Overall, 53% have become more optimistic about the economy in the past 12-months, with higher tier cities the most optimistic.

Premium and Luxury

Online Sales of Luxury Goods Growing at Healthy Pace, Says Study: 45% of Chinese consumers chose e-commerce sites as their top choice for buying luxury goods according to a KPMG survey. Spending grew by 28% over the past 12-months to ¥2,300 yuan ($362) per deal online, with almost one in three buying goods at full price. Cosmetics are the top luxury purchase online, with sales 18% higher than a year ago. Luxury bag sales grew 109% and female clothing grew 58%.

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