China Insights
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Overcome the challenge to engage Chinese consumers digitally

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Digital 27.10.2017 / 11:31

KTNS Connected Life woman

China’s Belts & Road Initiative will build both physical and virtual roads for companies to enter China; but these companies need to know how to engage Chinese consumers, who are the most digitally savvy in the world.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative – the Belt and Road Initiative – was initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to further grow the global free trade and support the open world economy. It is such an important programme that it was just added to the Communist Party of China Constitution.

Over 50,000 miles of railway will be constructed along the Corridors to take Chinese companies’ goods of out to the world. But rather than return empty, there is an unprecedented opportunity for companies along the Belt and Road routes to send their own products into China.

As is true with all business cases, to win the hearts and minds of consumers in any market, brands first need to understand how to engage them. Kantar TNS’s annual Connected Life study surveyed 70,000 people across 56 countries and markets – including China’s mainland and Hong Kong, as well as 28 countries  along the Belt and Road routes – to understand the digital behaviour and attitudes of its netizens. This provides rich insights into how to win in China’s digital market.

One of the most distinct features of Chinese consumers is that they are among the world’s most digitally savvy population: they spend 5.4 hours a day online for personal reasons and digital media makes up 74% of their media consuming time. These indexes are leading the world.

Besides spending a lot of time online, they are also very much distracted: 53% of Chinese users agree “I normally use multiple devices at the same time when online”. This is a challenge for brands because it’s hard to attract Chinese people’s full attention in digital world. But it also presents an opportunity for brands which can master synchronizing their marketing campaigns across screens.

For foreign brands, the stake is high in playing their digital strategy right in China, because 64% Chinese consumers believe that Internet play a large role in research products or services to buy, and 38% of all Chinese consumers will express their opinions on brands online thus making word-of-mouth one of the key elements in deciding a brand’s fate in China.

Kantar TNS Connected Life report also offers more insights of Chinese consumers’ digital behaviour, such as:

* How many of them have bought something recently online?

* What are the top categories in e-commerce?

* What is the key consumer segmentation in China that brands need to win first?

Sacha Cody from Kantar advises brands to take the time to understand the behaviour of their target audience rather than simply follow the market: “Certainly WeChat is the most popular social network as well as messaging service, but there are numerous options that still have high penetration and may be more relevant to your consumer. A lot of urban Chinese use knowledge-sharing platform Zhihu, for example, and this presents a wonderful opportunity to connect brands that are of a more considered purchase, such as automobiles and even medicines, with your consumer”.

Kantar TNS is going to host two free webinars in English on November 1. You are more than welcome to join us as we draw from Connected Life to explore how to connect with consumers in China mainland and Hong Kong via different media touchpoints and the role of brands in their digital lives.

To register for Nov 1, 2 pm Beijing time/6 am UTC webinar, please click here;

To register for Nov 1, 5 pm Beijing time/9 am UTC webinar, please click here.

Source: Kantar TNS

Editor's notes

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