M-tailing Revolutionizing Shopping in China: Study

Posted on by Patty Odell

It’s a tantalizing statement: Marketers who embrace mobility as a primary marketing platform in China could potentially double or triple their sales in the short and medium term. That’s the top line news uncovered by new research from an agency planted in, and doing business in, the country: Draftfcb China.

m-tailing in chinaThe research also found that Chinese mobile phone users are so committed to mobile shopping that 57% said they would buy anything on a mobile phone compared to the global average of 49%.

The Draftfcb research looked across eight major global economies to find that China has the most active smart phone market in the world where people use their mobile devices for more functions than in other countries. On average, Chinese smart phone users embrace 4.9 activities, with the U.S average at 4.7 and India users at 4.4.

China’s new standing as the country with the greatest receptiveness to mobile shopping has given rise to a new branch of digital commerce, called m-tailing, so the impact of mobile shopping can be more clearly identified, Draftfcb China said.

The benefit to marketers is that they can reach far beyond top-tier cities into more rural parts of China to sell their products and services, which means “that proximity of purchase is no longer a barrier for brands that may be struggling with physical presence in the majority of China cities.” People in lower-tier cities and Gen Y, the most digital of all shopper demographics, are flocking to mobile shopping, Draftfcb China said.

In the Draftfcb study, the activities of Chinese mobile shoppers in some of the most popular market categories—Groceries; Clothing/Shoes/Accessories; Health & Beauty; Casual Dining & Fast Food, as well as Electronics/Technology/Appliances—are broken down to illustrate the extent of their behaviors.

“The real revolution is taking place in the lower-tier cities where marketers have traditionally appealed to consumers via traditional media channels and the Internet at either home or in the office,” Tiffana Pun, vice president, head of strategic planning, Draftfcb Greater China, said. “In our survey 67% of people said that looking at products on a mobile phone is just as satisfying as being in-store.”

Another interesting finding is that mobile phones removes the hassle of speaking to sales people in-store.

Among the Chinese, 77% said this is true, versus the global average of 66%. Pun added that Chinese m-tailers also show a high propensity to buying a product if it has favourable online reviews and that convenience was more important in final purchase decisions than price. In the study, 84% of Chinese said this is true, vs the global average of 66%.

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