China’s M-Commerce Revolution: Why PCs Are Only Part Of The E-Tail Picture

Chinese consumers’ willingness to use mobile devices to make online purchases is the highest in the world, according to a new report. (Flickr/SimonQ錫濛譙)

In case brands needed yet another reason to prove that a strong mobile marketing and e-commerce strategy is crucial for success in China, a new report finds that Chinese consumers are the most mobile-oriented shoppers in the world by a wide margin.

Released earlier this month, the survey conducted by marketing agency DigitasLBi looked at the digital shopping habits of respondents from 12 countries, including China, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The report found that Chinese consumers’ use of mobile devices to make online purchases is massive—70 percent of survey respondents said they had purchased an item via smartphone in the past three months. This number more than doubles the rate in the United States, which comes second at only 22 percent. Furthermore, the survey found that 79 percent of Chinese respondents use their phone while shopping in-store, while the United States once again trailed far behind at 37 percent.

Relatedly, the practice of “showrooming,” or visiting a brick-and-mortar store to test a product and then buying it online, is alive and well among pragmatic Chinese shoppers. A total of 84 percent of Chinese respondents said they had engaged in this practice, a rate second only to Sweden’s 88 percent. China’s high rate of showrooming is likely connected to their propensity to use mobile devices while shopping, since a search for cheaper prices online is only a tap away.

One main way brands can reach mobile-oriented Chinese consumers, according to the report, is social media. A total of 82 percent of Chinese social network users said that social media has influenced their purchase decision—once again, the highest rate in the world. Additionally, Chinese web users are the most likely to share a purchase on a social network: 78 percent said they had done so, compared to only 50 percent or less for other countries surveyed.

The findings conclude that Chinese consumers are not only extremely connected, but that they quickly adopt new innovations in technology. This is likely a factor in the rapid rise of popular mobile messaging app WeChat over the past two years, and a major reason that mobile needs to be a key part of any brand’s digital plan for China.

 

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Market Trends, Mobile, Tech