Vulnerability of China’s Online Shoppers
On Tuesday this week, whilst Westerners were filling up on pancakes, Chinese companies prepared to fill up on takings via the newest addition to mCommerce payments: via WeChat.
Who would have thought that something as simple as hailing a taxi, would lead to apps that could create such a multi-dimensional drama in China?
Taxi hailing apps are ideally suited to China's growing smartphone numbers. They service a need, effortlessly linking passengers who are prepared to pay extra to find a taxi quickly, to drivers hoping to bolster their modest incomes. They combine the connectedness and immediacy of the Internet with the location-based features of a smartphone.
In 2012, 83 million Chinese travelled abroad spending $102 billion - 40% more than in 2011 and the biggest tourism spenders globally. 94 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2013, with 100-110 million expected this year. Those travellers and growth have helped make China the world’s most sought-after and competitive tourism market, drawing courters from all corners of the world.
Happy belated Valentines Day. With Spring Festival fatigue still evident, the timing wasn't great to be pushing another celebration in China. Nevertheless, there were still plenty of starry-eyed youth with arms full of flowers and chocolates walking city streets throughout the Mainland last Friday.
Like most celebrations, observing the Feast of Saint Valentine has become a bit of a cash cow in China. Long gone are the days of taking your princess to the noodle vendor, and dropping $2 on an intimate dinner. Nowadays in China, some define a 'medium-priced' dinner for two as a ¥500 ($82) graze - the most popular priced deals booked on plush restaurant website, DiningCity.
China's biggest holiday has come and gone. The festivities were filled with the usual orchestra of pyrotechnics, red paper cut-outs symbolising good fortune, and reunited families huddling together with one eye on CCTV's Spring Festival Gala and the other on their smartphones.
Each passing Lunar New Year sees businesses develop more innovative ways to capitalise on Chinese consumer's generosity, to capture a share of the $605 per capita allocated for gifting. There were the customary limited edition horse-engraved gift sets for everything from liquor to lipstick, but there were a few surprises as well.
Demographic profiles help us to better understand our Chinese target markets and the user makeup of the channels we are communicating to them through. However, with a market as vast as China, it's important to remember that Chinese consumers can vary significantly between city tiers and regions, and should often be considered as a matrix of different markets, rather than one homogeneous mass.
We only need to look as far as Chinese consumer's online search habits to get an idea about what's on their minds. One of the interesting outtakes from China's top Baidu search terms in 2013 was the focus on investments. Chinese have long been known as some of the biggest savers in the world, but unlike in the past when they'd stuff wads of cash under the mattress, or deposit it in the bank, those with cash to burn are increasingly looking for better returns.
If you'd popped into a Chinese village about 4,600 years ago, there's a slim chance you'd have been offered a clay flask of wine. Although archaeologists have discovered Chinese produced wine from native "mountain grapes" since the time the Egyptians were building the Giza pyramids, drinking wine never took off in China like it did further west. Yet, with changing lifestyles, tastes and demographics, China is finally coming to the party.
China is expected to become the second largest consumer of wine by 2016, and the sixth biggest producer - Chinese actually drink four times more locally-grown plonks than the imported stuff, and local vintages are starting to receive international acclaim.
Happy New Year, we hope your 2014 has started off with a bang. While many of you would have still been crooning Auld Lang Syne, another record was broken in China, where 808,298 Sina Weibo posts were sent in the first minute of 2014 - up 11% on last year's record. But Weibo's record, helped by partnering with CCTV's New Year broadcasts, does little to hide the reality that the network's popularity has taken a hit with the rise of Tencent's WeChat.