The Buyers

The Buyers: Studying Chinese Consumers’ Online Interactions

There’s no doubt that digital affects people’s everyday lives around the world.

A byproduct of incorporating connectivity into just about any activity is how social media affects regular interactions. It can be difficult to discuss the digital effects without looping in social media.

When it comes to the ramifications for the retail industry, a Deloitte study found that 56 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores today is influenced by digital interactions. As such, it would behoove retailers to invest wisely in incorporating social media strategies into their overall marketing campaigns.

Engaging with today’s tech-savvy consumer brings about a whole set of new tactics when it comes to engagement.

For the Chinese buyer in particular, social media engagement and online shopping activities takes on a unique avenue.

Unveiled at Asia’s CES event last week, the Consumer Technology Assn.’s study, Digital Lifestyles in China, zeroed in on online Chinese consumer behavior as it relates to social networks, shopping preferences and video content consumption.

With regards to social media behavior for the Chinese buyer, 63 percent use it for keeping up with personal contacts, and just 28 percent utilize it for professional reasons. The research also showed that there are stark differences in the amount of online shopping between Chinese and American shoppers. While 63 percent of Chinese consumers share a clear preference for online shopping, the study found that only 11 percent surveyed prefer the in-store shopping experience.

What’s caused the significant shift in Chinese buyer personas?

The Consumer Technology Assn.’s (CTA) senior director of market research, Steve Koenig, commented in the company’s release focused on the study results about the increasing use of online services in China.

“In the span of just a decade, China has developed and deployed a world-class online services sector – and Chinese consumers have fully embraced it. Connectivity is shaping Chinese consumers’ lifestyles faster and more dramatically than we’ve seen with other countries. Brands must understand how this mobile connection shapes Chinese personal networks, content consumption and buying behavior,” Koenig said.

Being one of the more advanced countries in terms of preferring online to in-store shopping, China has a unique position to lead the eCommerce arena. As such, it should come as no surprise that U.S. retailers are looking to expand in the country.  In 2015 alone, McKinsey & Co. found cross-border consumer eCommerce purchases reaching $40 billion, with an annual growth rate of 50 percent.

The China buyer is likely a good predictor of what shopping trends will follow in other parts of the world. In 2016, China’s National Bureau of Statistics found Chinese buyers spent $750 billion online, which is said to be more than the total of U.S. and U.K. spending combined. The Chinese eCommerce is also expected to grow at a rate of 20 percent per year over the next five years which, as you guessed it, is also double the amount projected for the U.S. and U.K. together.

Studies about new consumer behaviors are revealing new details on a weekly basis.

Commercial tablet company Bouncepad recently revealed findings from its study that show today’s U.S. consumer still enjoyed shopping at brick-and-mortar locations but desire more tech integration. More specifically, 78 percent of U.S. consumers want retailers to ramp up technology in stores to enhance the overall experience.

Research company eMarkete’’s latest study, Visual Commerce 2017: How Image Recognition and Augmentation Are Changing Retail, reveals how U.S. consumers are thus making the need for visually appealing eCommerce sites a necessity. In 2017, U.S. consumers will spend an average of three hours and 14 minutes on their mobile phones. What makes this research click for retailers is the fact that 75 percent of U.S. consumers search for visual content regularly prior to making purchases.

UPS’ just released study on consumer behavior found that 47 percent of fervent online U.S. shoppers are turning to international retailers for their shopping needs. For these international U.S. shopping consumers, it was found that most of the retailers were based in China (61 percent) with the U.K. (23 percent), Canada (15 percent) and Japan (14 percent) trailing behind.

Bringing this full circle, it seems that China is in fact influencing the eCcommerce industry.

 

 

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