The smartphone phone has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop, from how they evaluate products to how they buy. A new study by Mindshare China and Millward Brown China urges brands to deliver “a seamless branding and retail experience across all platforms.”
“We know China is such a dynamic market and consumers are increasingly not only using PCs and laptops, but are now directly engaging on mobile platforms for shopping purposes. This increases expectations for brands to deliver a viable shopping experience on all store fronts,” says Ben Condit, Digital Partner at Mindshare China. “From the research, compellingly, we see this to be true across all market levels in China, not just at the top tier.”
The study is based on data gathered from over 25,000 mobile search results across smartphone users in China and their mobile search behaviors, as well as post mobile search actions. The results from the study reveal some interesting tidbits about Chinese consumers’ mobile habits.
– 15% of all mobile searches were shopping-related activities, primarily for clothing (29%), groceries (26%), electronic devices (22%) and personal and beauty care (9%). About half of the respondents say they generally visit the retailer’s website on mobile; they are also equally likely have made a purchase on mobile as they have in-person at a store. So, driving traffic to the mobile site is about as critical as driving foot traffic to the store.
– Half of all shopping-related mobile searches occur at home and one-quarter at work; one-in-ten shopping related searches were conducted at the shopping center or in-store.
– Half of all mobile searches currently take place in-App; shopping Apps rank highest in percentage of Apps used in-store or in-mall (15%), suggesting the importance of getting technology right to deliver the full experience.
“This further solidifies how advanced the Chinese consumer has become in the shopping experience,” says Chris Maier, Head of Media and Digital at Millward Brown Greater China. “We know the importance of e-commerce in China, but the manner in which consumers hear, information-seek and purchase products is increasingly in the integrated environment and, sometimes, simultaneously physically and virtually. Getting the point-of-sale strategy right means having a proper experience that synergizes traditional retail, e-retail and m-retail together and that means developing a seamless branding experience for the consumer, whether at home, on-the-go or physically in-store.”
Mobile’s convenience value adds immediacy to the shopping process. It allows consumers to act immediately.
– Two-thirds of mobile searchers say an immediate follow-up is triggered after their search.
– Nearly half (45%) of follow-up actions are directly related to a purchase, whether it be on mobile, PC, offline or a phone call and forty-percent happen within one hour of the initial mobile search.
– Follow-up action tends to be fastest using the mobile device, with 80% coming less than an hour after initial mobile search, compared with PC (62%), phone call (62%) or offline (52%).
“Chinese consumers can typically be price driven and, consequently, the opportunity to bargain-hunt on e-commerce and m-commerce platforms makes the value proposition intriguing. We also know, though, they are as dynamic as they are smart and may actively price-compare on their mobile phones during the in-store experience,” Maier notes. “Inevitably, as consumer sophistication grows towards a more premium value-driven culture, brands must get it right across all fronts to deliver the maximum brand experience. This means designing and integrating the e-commerce and m-commerce activities with the rest of the business to ensure the brand story is communicated consistently to support its ideal.”