Byravee Iyer
Jul 23, 2014

Hunger for e-commerce is even stronger than you think, especially in China

ASIA-PACIFIC - Consumer preference to shop online in Asia is almost double that of the US, according to a study commissioned by Razorfish that challenges the conventional wisdom that brands are best built through advertising.

Hunger for e-commerce is even stronger than you think, especially in China

A stunning 82 per cent of Chinese shoppers report that they wish they could make all their purchases online, compared to just 49 per cent of those in the US.

Mobile commerce via branded mobile applications drives loyalty and could be the key to fighting losses from showrooming, according to the digital agency. Less than half of UK consumers prefer using a brand's mobile app, compared to almost 80 per cent of Chinese shoppers. Most Chinese shoppers believe their phone is their most valuable shopping tool while they are in a store.

The study included 1,500 global contributors, with quantitative and qualitative data from the United States, Europe, Brazil and China. Razorfish released the interim results to Campaign Asia-Pacific today; the full study is still being processed and is due for release next month.

Chinese consumers are also the most tech-hungry and welcoming toward technological advances and lifestyle changes in their day-to-day lives. Consumers in China are more likely to wish they could control their household devices through the internet (84 per cent, versus 52 per cent in the UK).

“CMOs need to match the technology tenacity of their consumers by creating useful and engaging consumer-centric experiences to meet the expectations of Asian consumers,” said Erik Hermanson, Razorfish's senior VP of business consulting, APAC. “In the case of mobile and e-commerce, smart marketers are ensuring their branded experiences are directly linked to revenue."

Hermanson added that a lot of innovation is happening in Asia, specifically China. “The acquisition of WhatsApp was meant to be a pathway into the China market, but China’s WeChat is way ahead,” he said, pointing out that retailers in China are using WeChat to drive innovative programmes. “Don’t always look at Facebook and Twitter. It’s the ones that you might not have thought about that are driving innovation.”

The interim study also revealed that Asian consumers show a strong preference for useful, rather than “interesting” brands. In China, 88 per cent of consumers preferred useful brands, compared to 51 per cent in the US and 79 per cent in the UK.

There’s been a push over the last couple of years to utilitarian brands, said Hermanson. Consumers in APAC are seeking out brands that push out more utility-based marketing services. He cited Nike as an example of embracing technology to deliver things that are “not just about advertising”.



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