Retail in Asia

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Survey: China’s tech-savvy consumers have highest take-up of e-commerce and mobile technologies, KPMG

Chinese consumers see highest take-up of e-commerce and new technologies, according to KPMG’s latest Global Consumers and Convergence Survey.

KPMG’s fifth annual survey of the consumption sector, titled The Converged Lifestyle, interviewed 9,600 consumers across 31 countries. Their ages ranged from 16 to 65-plus and all of them owned various technology products, ranging laptops/notebook computers, tablet computers, smartphones or mobile phones.

The survey found that a larger number of Chinese consumers engage in online shopping, compared to consumers in the rest of the world. This is across a wide range of items, from household products to luxury products.

Top items included CDs/DVDs/books and video games, as 79 percent of Chinese respondents said they preferred to purchase goods online, ahead of 65 percent of global respondents.

Egidio Zarrella, Partner, KPMG China, says: "Asian consumers – led by China – are doing more of their purchasing online. Asia has also seen exponential growth in the use of mobile devices for both purchases and payments. China is also leading the way in the mobile banking space, because of the rapid take-up of smartphones."

"A lot of banks are introducing products in this region, as they don’t have legacy issues faced in other parts of the world, which makes take-up of new technologies quicker and far more efficient. In fact, our survey found that 66 percent of global respondents are willing to use their mobile phone as a wallet, and it’s even higher in China, at 84 percent."

Sixty-six percent Chinese respondents are willing to have their online usage patterns and personal profile information tracked for advertising, in return for lower costs or free content, (This is higher than the global average of 62 percent). Meanwhile, around 80 percent of Chinese consumer respondents said they are willing to receive advertising when using a PC or mobile device.

The rapid adoption of the smartphone is playing a significant role in terms of customer experience in the retail space. Over 50 percent of Chinese consumers said they use their smartphones at retail outlets to access coupons and mobile gift cards (46 percent), whereas global respondents said they typically use their phone to research products and services or to locate the nearest stores.

On the flipside, consumers are not as keen to have to pay for any associated online content and service. Having become used to "free" models, 73 percent of respondents globally said they do not pay for access to online content, up from 57 percent last year.

China however, paints a different trend, with 44 percent of respondents currently paying for online content. Fifty-four percent said they are willing to pay for online content, such as books, video, games and music.

Consumers also voiced caution when paying for apps for mobile devices. Over 40 percent of the respondents globally said they did not pay for any apps they download (compared to 28 percent of Chinese respondents).

The survey also notes that 14 percent of respondents globally plan to end home TV services within the next 12 months – China was even higher at 24 percent. A majority (83 percent) of Chinese respondents explained this was because they increasingly use video content available on internet.

Eighty percent of Chinese consumers said they prefer to watch TV programmes and movies via laptops or personal computers, compared to the global average of 51 percent.

Egidio Zarrella concludes: "Asia seems set to leapfrog the rest of the world when it comes to the use of new technologies. This Asian-led revolution will have a dramatic impact on the global market and will largely influence the future design and sales of new technology products."

To download the full report, click on the PDF attachment.