Chinese Consumers See Fastest Uptake in Widespread Use of Digital Media

Urban consumers in China are leading the charge in terms of how they make online purchases and their use of media content, according to a new KPMG survey. The increasingly rapid use of smartphones, tablets, and the advancement of mobile networks is likely to accelerate this trend.


One of the key findings is that China is experiencing a mobile revolution, with consumers increasingly opting to use online media for a variety of purposes. The metropolitan areas of China – such as Beijing and Shanghai – have leapfrogged traditional media, opting for content on the move via their mobile devices. Urban Chinese consumers are more likely to own a smartphone than a laptop.


“Chinese consumers are truly changing the way consumers buy goods and services online," says Egidio Zarrella, Partner, Clients and Innovation Consulting, KPMG China. "A huge number own at least one smartphone, with many owning two to three devices. This is partly due to the ability to sign up for contracts that provide the latest technology at little or no outlay.”


Urban Chinese consumers are also a driving force in terms of ownership of electronic devices. Over half (51 percent) of Chinese respondents have a tablet, far ahead of the world’s average at 26 percent. Additionally, 78 percent of Chinese respondents own a smartphone, compared to the world average of 53 percent.


The survey also finds that a larger number of Chinese consumers recognise the benefits of online content compared to other country respondents. Seventy-six percent of Chinese respondents say they prefer to access content online because it is better value for money; 4 in 5 respondents indicated that accessing content online is more convenient compared to traditional methods, as they tend to spend a lot of time on computer.


Meanwhile, 82 percent of respondents said they prefer to use online media as it is free of charge, offers wider content choice and is more accessible.


Zarrella adds: “Chinese consumers are creating the perfect storm for the mobile market: accessing payments, devices, social media, online advertising – all of these on the move. These consumers are more accepting of these new technologies as they don’t have the legacy of traditional media channels in the same way countries such as the UK and US have.”


In other findings, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents from Mainland China indicated they access the internet via their smartphones when watching TV; 60 percent surf online via their PC/laptop; 52 percent said they read newspapers, while 36 percent use social networking sites.


Zarrella concludes: “Most Chinese consumers are getting their media via their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Very few rely on print media and their desire to have access to content on the move, on the latest devices, is driving a massive explosion of mobile media consumption. Technology and media companies need to be focused on this emerging class of mobile first consumers; they can learn from the experiences of the Chinese consumers to address the next generation of mobile consumers.”


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