4 Findings on the Digital Habits of Chinese Consumers that Luxury Brands Need to Know

    Here are a few key findings from a new report about emerging digital habits of Chinese consumers that luxury brands should take note of.
    A screenshot of the homepage of, a domestic luxury e-commerce website.
    Yiling PanAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    Chinese consumers are ready to buy everything online. That and a few other key findings came to light in a recent report entitled "Digital Lifestyles in China" by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The report offers insights and data about the online behaviors of consumers culled from a survey of over 3,000 smartphone users from mainland China.

    First released during the association’s annual CES Asia Conference, in Shanghai, China from June 7-9, the report can help luxury brands better understand content consumption as well as the personal networking and buying behaviors of their targeted consumers.

    Here are four takeaways for luxury brands operating in China:

    1. Social media in China remains more personal than professional

    Chinese consumers use social media more to explore and maintain their personal relationships than to further professional development. The data suggests that over 60 percent of those surveyed contact and engage with their friends and families, while only 28 percent of them use it for professional purposes.

    “It’s possible that creating reliable firewalls between their personal and professional social networking could help the majority of Chinese express their individuality while still maintaining a professional persona," Steve Koenig, the Senior Director of Market Research at CTA, said in a statement.

    2. Chinese consumers are ready to purchase everything online

    It is a cliché to elaborate on the importance of online shopping in China, but it is still a surprise to learn that Chinese consumers think “there are very few products they cannot, or will not purchase online.” The data from the report shows that nearly half of the surveyed users have purchased everything they need and want online, meaning that shopping online has become a necessary part of the modern world for them.

    In the past, China’s e-commerce sites such as Tmall recruited a number of luxury automakers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi to launch digital stores with them. Therefore, luxury brands in China should not be afraid of making the full use of their imagination to creatively think about how they can cater to Chinese consumers digitally.

    3. Chinese consumers favor shopping on smartphones

    Following up on the previous finding, CTA reveals that smartphones are the main digital device that Chinese consumers use when shopping online due to its convenience and accessibility. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the surveyed consumers have made almost 90 percent of their past purchases on their smartphones. Compare that to just 33 percent of purchases made on a Tablet. Also, half of respondents said that they used a store’s own app to place the order.

    The finding confirms the importance for luxury brands to invest in digital channels to maximize its potential for sales. Launching on a major online shopping platform is an absolute must for luxury brands, but they also should improve the functionality of their own apps to make them more localized, user-friendly and accessible to Chinese people.

    4. WeChat is where meaningful interaction happens

    Even though there is a strong resurgence in the number of active users on Sina Weibo thanks to the recent introduction of video-related content, the platform still lacks the scale and capacity to generate meaningful interaction between luxury brands and their followers when compared to WeChat.

    On WeChat, CTA found that almost 90 percent of users they asked check the app multiple times per day, which was twice that of Weibo users, which was 44 percent.

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