Nearly nine out of every 10 Chinese consumers (88%) use their mobile devices to shop online, according to a report, “Digital Lifestyles in China,” by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Clearly, Chinese consumers have “fully embraced” digital behaviours, said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at CTA.
“Connectivity is shaping Chinese consumers’ lifestyles faster and more dramatically than we’ve seen with other countries,” he told CMO.com. “Brands must understand how the mobile connection shapes Chinese personal networks, content consumption, and buying behavior.”
From mobile banking and online shopping to social media and dating apps, APAC consumers across the board are unquestionably mobile-savvy. In fact, Persistence Market Research predicts the global mobile analytics market will grow from US$1.5 billion in 2016 to US$6 billion in 2024.
According to Az Yousaf, general manager of digital experiences at customer experience agency Kalido, the rapid growth of smartphone penetration in Asia–particularly in markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, and China–is resulting in marketplaces that are not just mobile-first but mobile-only.
“Increasingly for business, mobile is the channel through which they are going to engage with customers. In mobile-only markets, people are much more likely to go straight to their device to make purchases or conduct transactions,” Yousaf said. “Mobile analytics give organisations the customer insights they need to deliver the best experiences.”
In a crowded marketplace, he added, no business can afford to ignore customer experience as a competitive advantage.
“It’s not about taking a legacy business and putting it online; that’s a given. It’s about becoming more customer-centric,” Yousaf said. “Mobile provides endless opportunities to create experiences that go beyond expectations.”
The 7-Eleven chain of convenience and fuel stores in Australia recognized that opportunity. A year ago, it launched its Fuel app, which enables motorists to search their five nearest 7-Eleven fuel stores to find the lowest price. They can then lock in that price and redeem petrol for that amount at any 7-Eleven store in Australia within seven days.
The app also provides registered users with personalized, free offers and discounts, such as getting their seventh “big cup” beverage of choice for free.
The savings didn't stop there. According to Julie Laycock, 7-Eleven’s head of marketing, in the 12 months ending in March, customers conducted 4.5 million fuel searches and redeemed 300,000 fuel price locks. Doing so saved them collectively more than $1 million on fuel purchases.
“The 7-Eleven fuel app is all about delivering great value, innovation, and convenience to our customers,” Laycock said.
The Chinese love affair with online shopping is ever prevalent thanks to the popularity of “daigou,” which refers to an agency of sellers who purchase items for residents on mainland China. (Daigou is the Chinese word for “buying on behalf of.”)
Increasingly, the exchange of commerce is occurring via mobile apps such as WeChat and Weibo, which comes as no surprise considering many daigous are Millennial Chinese students studying or living abroad. But many other companies are taking advantage of the international commerce option.
One example is New Zealand honey producer Manuka Health, which encourages sales to China through its daigou networks in ANZ.
Kate Kember, Manuka Health’s general manager of marketing, described the company’s relationship with daigou as “symbiotic,” adding that sales from the mobile app were “significant.”
“One reason that daigou works is because when Chinese consumers buy from a daigou, they are buying from someone they trust,” Kember said. “Trust is a very important part of doing business in China.”