chinese shoppers

Make it mobile. According to Nielsen’s latest report, “What’s Next for China’s Connected Consumers,” shoppers in the region are increasingly referring to mobile devices to complete their shopping — marking huge opportunities for brands and retailers eager to build new revenue channels.

“Nielsen research shows 84 percent of consumers used their mobile phone to shop in 2017 — up from 71 percent in 2015,” said the report. “At the same time, the proportion of consumers who use their laptops, desktops and tablets to make online purchases has steadily declined.”

The researchers of the report attribute this uptick to the availability of mobile payment options such as WeChat wallets and Alipay. “The widespread adoption of Alipay and WeChat Wallet means shoppers now find it more convenient to pay through their smartphones than pay with cash. Nielsen research shows 70 percent of consumers have used WeChat Wallet in the past 12 months. A further 92 percent have used Alipay,” the report said.

What’s more, these options have devised a landscape that contains shoppers — it motivates the ongoing shopping process, instead of completing a simple transaction and exiting.

This has also predicated the rise of the sharing economy, too. The report points out “digital payments activated through mobile devices are helping consumers access new products, experiences and conveniences.” This new consumer behavior not only indicates opportunities for experiential retail and services to manifest, but also provides existing companies a path to collect pertinent — and previously untapped — shopper data.

The influence of social media also continues to swell on Chinese consumers. According to the report, approximately 902 million Chinese individuals log into WeChat daily — a year-on-year increase by 17 percent. The report also ascertained that the popular platform is a key asset in guiding purchasing decisions and brand awareness.

“WeChat is a key influence. Nielsen’s 2017 Online Shopper Trend Report shows 51 percent of consumers have opened push notifications sent from a brand’s official WeChat account. When executed in the right way, these alerts can help uplift sales; 27 percent of consumers say they buy more after receiving these messages,” the report said.

This necessitates that brands and retailers deploy deep audience segmentation tools to best reach core and target shoppers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chinese online consumers prefer to shop digitally to compare prices — 53 percent said that they typically shop online to review their options. What’s more 36 percent said shopping online allows them to avoid crowds and 43 percent cited home delivery an advantage — and reason — for online spending.

Online shoppers also tended to shop more regularly, Nielsen’s research found. Physical store consumers shopped four times a month — online alternative shopped more than five times per month, the research discovered.

This has been largely due to the new cross-border commerce availabilities. “Consumers that buy from overseas web sites has grown from 34 percent in 2015 to 64 percent in 2017,” said the report. Despite the advantages this proposes to retailers and brands perhaps not located in China, this does present a hurdle: logistics. The report suggested that a solid plan on shipment and delivery be in place before executing an e-commerce plan.

More from WWD:

What Net Neutrality Means for E-commerce

Affluent Consumers Hunt for Deals, Too

What the Salesforce, Google Partnership Signals to Retailers