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CHINA’S WIRED
WOMEN AND THE
FUTUREOFGLOBAL
CONSUMPTION
EVELINA LYE, PADMINI PANDYA & SUE SU
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
Women are fast becoming one of the
largest economic forces in the world.
It’s estimated th...
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
4
Warc. “How to Reach Digital Divas in China.” 2013.
5
MSLGROUP. “Women Online: The Social...
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
According to research done by Micro-
soft, Chinese Wired Women are early
tech adopters and...
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
10
McCann Truth Central. “Truth about Beauty.” 2012. http://truthcentral.mccann.com/portfo...
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
Demonstration
China’s Wired Women are keen to
portray idealized versions of themselves
onl...
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
18
TechNode. “Productivity Apps among the Biggest Chinese Ad Spenders in Overseas Markets....
INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
23
Warc. “How to Reach Digital Divas in China.” 2013.
Conclusion
There’s little doubt that...
SapientNitro®
, part of Publicis.Sapient, is a new breed of agency redefining storytelling for an always-on world. We’re c...
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China’s Wired Women and the Future of Global Consumption | By Evelina Lye (Regional Marketing Lead, APAC), Padmini Pandya (Strategic Business, Planning, APAC) and Sue Su (Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, China)

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Wired Woman [adjectival noun]: Digitally confident, hyper-connected, socially influential, and device-laden, über online shopper.

Building off of a strong SXSWi presentation and extensive research, this piece explores the shopping behaviors of Chinese Women and draws global parallels in an effort to outfit readers with the data they need to meet this trend head-on.

Women are fast becoming one of the largest economic forces in the world. It’s estimated that women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, a figure that could climb to $28 trillion by 2020.

Within this group, there is a growing percentage of highly influential, digitally empowered women shaping trends for online behavior. We call them “Wired Women.” And nowhere are these women more digitally savvy than in China, where a staggering 15 percent said they would rather give up seeing their families for a month than their mobile phones.

With so much spending power, how can brands access China’s Wired Women? To start, we’ve identified three of their key consumer behaviors: Self-Education, Demonstration, and Management.

Written by Evelina Lye (Regional Marketing Lead, APAC), Padmini Pandya (Strategic Business, Planning, APAC) and Sue Su (Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, China)

Published in: Economy & Finance
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China’s Wired Women and the Future of Global Consumption | By Evelina Lye (Regional Marketing Lead, APAC), Padmini Pandya (Strategic Business, Planning, APAC) and Sue Su (Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, China)

  1. 1. CHINA’S WIRED WOMEN AND THE FUTUREOFGLOBAL CONSUMPTION EVELINA LYE, PADMINI PANDYA & SUE SU
  2. 2. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS Women are fast becoming one of the largest economic forces in the world. It’s estimated that women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, a figure that could climb to $28 trillion by 2020.1 Within this group, there is a growing percentage of highly influential, digitally-empowered women shaping trends for online behavior. We call them “Wired Women.” And nowhere are these women more digitally savvy than in China, where a staggering 15 percent said they would rather give up seeing their families for a month than their mobile phones.2 The Chinese Wired Woman embodies a growing female demographic who is educated, financially independent, successful, connected, opinionated, and sociable. She is “deeply digital,” and the new arbiter of cool and influence. On the other hand, she is also profoundly involved in the management of familial matters and turns to digital platforms for the benefit of others as much as she does for personal purposes. 1 Harvard Business Review. “The Female Economy.” https://hbr.org/2009/09/the-female-economy. 2 MSLGROUP. “Women Online: The Social Wisdom of Wired Women Around the World.” 2013. 3 Warc. “How to Reach Digital Divas in China.” 2013. Wired Woman Digitally confident, hyper-connected, socially influential, and device-laden über online shopper. [adjectival noun] China’s Wired Women comprise 18 percent of the female Chinese population: That’s about 115 million women who are at the forefront of digital adaptation, evolution, and trend- setting for the rest of China.3 Social media has given them the ability to stay connected with their friends, family, and colleagues on a daily basis, all while tapping into the collective intelligence of the broader online population. The country’s tech scene is hastily trying to meet their voracious digital appetites, and the size of the market means that where Chinese Wired Women go, so does Chinese innovation.
  3. 3. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS 4 Warc. “How to Reach Digital Divas in China.” 2013. 5 MSLGROUP. “Women Online: The Social Wisdom of Wired Women Around the World.” 2013. 4.6 79% Connected devices 89% connect to their colleagues on social networks 46% connect to their children on social networks 82% have taken on a secret, online identity 94% are able to express themselves online in ways they could not imagine in real life Turn to the Internet first for information 73% 44% 21% 13% 12% What global, Wired Women would rather give up than their mobile phones Online romance is BIGGER in China wine for a month 55% 45% coffee/tea for a month China Brazil U.K. U.S. of China’s Wired Women would rather give up sex for one month than their mobile phones WHO ARE CHINA’S WIRED WOMEN? 25-34 57% Mothers 73% Graduated from university Years old (majority) 87% Employed full-time Average income $19,635 RMB120,180 43% higher than the average Chinese female EMPLOYMENT & INCOME CONNECTED LIFESTYLE5 BOND WITH THEIR MOBILE PHONESDEMOGRAPHICS4 4.6 79% Connected devices 89% connect to their colleagues on social networks 46% connect to their children on social networks 82% have taken on a secret, online identity 94% are able to express themselves online in ways they could not imagine in real life Turn to the Internet first for information 73% 44% 21% 13% 12% What global, Wired Women would rather give up than their mobile phones Online romance is BIGGER in China wine for a month 55% 45% coffee/tea for a month China Brazil U.K. U.S. of China’s Wired Women would rather give up sex for one month than their mobile phones WHO ARE CHINA’S WIRED WOMEN? 25-34 57% Mothers 73% Graduated from university Years old (majority) 87% Employed full-time Average income $19,635 RMB120,180 43% higher than the average Chinese female EMPLOYMENT & INCOME CONNECTED LIFESTYLE5 BOND WITH THEIR MOBILE PHONESDEMOGRAPHICS4 INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS
  4. 4. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS According to research done by Micro- soft, Chinese Wired Women are early tech adopters and more comfortable sharing information online than any other nationality. Consequently, the rest of the world will be playing digital catch-up if it doesn’t pay attention. Savvy brands that understand China’s Wired Women are set to take advan- tage of one of the biggest opportunities. For example, Alibaba (China’s largest e-commerce company) made sales worth $9.3 billion in 24 hours on Sin- gles Day, the world’s biggest online discount shopping event, in 2014. To put that into perspective, American consumers spent a total of $2.9 billion over Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s two-day online sales bonanzas (see Figure 1) – roughly what China spent in eight hours. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s Chairman, went on national television the next day to personally thank Chinese women for their patronage. “I haven’t looked at the data yet, but I can guarantee that many women [made] purchases for their children, husbands, and dads and moms,” he said.6 With so much spending power, how can brands access China’s Wired Women? The Chinese Wired Woman cares about her family, the community, and how the rest of the world sees her. 6 Forbes. “$9.3 Billion Sales Recorded In Alibaba’s 24-Hour Online Sale, Beating Target By 15%.” http://www.forbes.com/ sites/hengshao/2014/11/11/9-3-billion-sales-recorded-in-alibabas-24-hour-online-sale-beating-target-by-15/. 7 The Guardian. “Alibaba’s Singles Day Sale in China Breaks Online Records.” http://www.theguardian.com/business/ 2014/nov/11/alibaba-singles-day-sales-china-break-records. 8 MSLGROUP. “Women Online: The Social Wisdom of Wired Women Around the World.” 2013; McCann Truth Central. “Truth about Beauty.” 2012. 9 Kimiss.com. “Home page.” http://www.kimiss.com. Singles day7 The world’s biggest online discount shopping event is (mostly) Chinese. Cyber Monday Black Friday Singles Day She wants to be beautiful; financially successful and independent; and a good daughter, wife, and mother. And the Internet has become an important – perhaps the most important – way for her to achieve this. Brands that want to find success with China’s Wired Women need to under- stand what it is this audience is looking for. To start, we’ve identified three of its key consumer behaviors: self-education, demonstration, and management. Self-Education China’s Wired Women want it all, and that requires a lot of input, from goods and services to the provision of advice. The Internet has become the most important channel for them to self- educate. More than half (57 percent) will compare products and prices on social media before they buy (a percentage that soars even higher for highly involved categories), and 60 percent of Chinese women consult online reviews at least once a month.8 For example, the biggest beauty Inter- net Word of Mouth (iWOM) platform in China, kimiss.com, has 2.2 billion views and 95 million users.9 The beauty industry and the Internet seem to go hand-in-hand, and Chinese Wired Women are especially review hungry: 60 percent will consult a beauty review each month. 2013 2014 $5.75 bn $3.49 bn $2.29 $1.20 $4.16 bn $2.65 $1.51 $9.34 bn FIGURE01
  5. 5. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS 10 McCann Truth Central. “Truth about Beauty.” 2012. http://truthcentral.mccann.com/portfolio/truth-about-beauty/. 11 MSLGROUP. “Women Online: The Social Wisdom of Wired Women Around the World.” 2013. http://mslgroup.com/ news/2013/20131112-wired-women.aspx. 12 McCann Truth Central. “Truth about Beauty.” 2012. http://truthcentral.mccann.com/portfolio/truth-about-beauty/. 13 Babytree. “New Mom Generation Survey.” 2014. 14 Advertiser Network (China). “Dior Intensive Repair Cream.” http://www.advertiser.cn/i/2578.html. Furthermore, two-thirds of Chinese Wired Women rely on online recom- mendations to purchase a beauty product, compared to just 40 percent in America.10 That means that China is now the largest online beauty market in the world, with a record number of sales on mobile devices. Mobile now accounts for 49 percent of beauty brand term searches on Baidu, and Estée Lauder reported that over 70 percent of its online sales in China come from cities with no brick-and-mortar distribution. E-commerce and mobile-optimized sites, therefore, are a must for brands wishing to capture this enormous opportunity and extend their reach to tier 3 and 4 cities across China. But it’s more than just choosing what to buy. China’s Wired Women also use the Internet to modify their behaviors. Brands must therefore recognize Wired Women’s desire for knowledge and help curate the conversation online. By encouraging their customers to honestly 56% consult health tips through the Internet.11 63% change their beauty routines at least every two months based on information online.12 69% of mothers take parenting advice from parents and experts online.13 discuss experiences and results on impartial social media and third-party beauty sites, brands can earn more credibility than they do with paid celebrity endorsements. Indeed, brands that have been able to engage with the real concerns of Chinese Wired Women have found great success. For example, the effects of pollution on one’s health and skin is a real concern for Chinese women. Dior recognized this and built a campaign site that gave product recommendations based on the pollu- tion index. In just two months, the site received 200million impressions and 4 million clicks.14 Similarly, Lancôme created an extreme- ly successful social forum for its fragrance, Rosebeauty. With 4 million users, the platform allows for self-ed- ucation about the brand’s products through a mix of conversation, virtual testing, and professional advice. Both Lancôme and Dior prove that if you can adapt and customize your information, then Wired Women will follow.
  6. 6. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS Demonstration China’s Wired Women are keen to portray idealized versions of themselves online, so don’t be surprised if you see a woman in a coffee shop arrange her- self and her food for the perfect picture before eating. And that photo’s need for retouching before being uploaded probably explains the 100 million users on the country’s most popular photo editing app, Meitu-xiuxiu, and the subsequent 600,000 retouched photos shared online each day.15 This demonstrative, “best self” trend extends far beyond selfies. Manage- ment consultants Bain & Co report that female shoppers now make up over half of all Chinese luxury buyers, representing an enormous growth from 1995 when 90 percent of luxury buyers were male.16 The luxury e-commerce site, Vipshop, reports that more than 80 percent of its customers are female, accounting for 90 percent of sales. And 60 percent of those purchases are made on mobile devices (see Figure 2). Even the choice of mobile is an important statement: According to the newest results of Hurun Report’s “Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey,” the gift of an iPhone or iPad is now preferable to a Louis Vuitton bag or Hermès belt for wealthy Chinese women.17 Recognizing this desire for self-demon- stration, Burberry has brought its VIP customization service to China through a partnership with mobile platform, WeChat. 15 199IT. “Meitu-xiuxiu official data: In late January 2013, the mobile terminal Meitu-xiuxiu showed 5.6 million daily active users.” http://www.199it.com/archives/92739.html. 16 Bain & Co. “Luxury Goods China Market Study.” 2013. http://www.bain.com/offices/middleeast/en_us/press/ press-releases/2013-luxury-market-study-release-bain- middle-east.aspx. 17 Jing Daily. “Apple ascends to top of gift list for China’s rich in austerity age.” http://jingdaily.com/apple-ascends- to-top-of-gift-list-for-chinas-rich-in-austerity-age/. Wired Women are constantly multitasking, and brands can make this easier by offering experiences and tools that simplify these women’s lives. FIGURE02 Luxury e-commerce site, Vipshop, reports that 80% of its customers are female, a far cry from 1995 when 90% of the Chinese market’s luxury buyers were male. In addition, more than 60% of Vipshop’s purchases are made on mobile devices.
  7. 7. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS 18 TechNode. “Productivity Apps among the Biggest Chinese Ad Spenders in Overseas Markets.” http://technode.com/2014/07/17/q2-2014/. 19 Tech In Asia. “Womb wars in China? Women’s health app Meet You nets another US$30M in funding.” https://www.techinasia.com/womb-wars-in-china-womens-health-calendar- meet-you-nets-another-us30m-in-funding/. 20 Tech In Asia. “Mothers I’d like to fund: Chinese social network for moms gets $20 million.” https://www.techinasia.com/chinese-social-network-app-for-moms-gets-20-million-funding/. 21 SmartShanghai. “[Tested]: The Personal Chef iPhone App.” http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/dining/tested-the-personal-chef-iphone-app. 22 eMarketer and China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). “2014 China Social Media Users Behavior Report.” July 1, 2014. Apps targeted to women, such as Meet You or Dayima (which have over 100 million downloads between them), are treading on a similar path. Originally just cycle trackers, they now provide an abundance of health information and have become full biology trackers.19 In addition, LMBang (which literally means “hot mom”) started as a social networking site for moms, but has expanded into fashion, health, and lifestyle tips to keep Wired Women engaged past the baby conversations.20 O2O, on the other hand, lets them browse beauty photos for makeup, nails, and other services; read reviews; and book appointments all within the app. While that keeps them perfectly coiffed, Shao Fan Fan connects them to personal chefs who come to their homes to cook for them – no time in the kitchen necessary.21 As these examples show, the opportu- nity for brands goes beyond beckoning Wired Women to “buy, buy, buy!” By presenting these women with real value, making their lives easier, and saving them time, brands are reaping the devotion and patronage of an ever- expanding market. By allowing customers to watch fashion shows in real time and buy items through their mobile devices, Burberry proves that integration can fully engage and satisfy Wired Wo- men’s always-on needs. Management Chinese Wired Women may have it all, but having it all often means doing it all. Professional, wife, mother, elderly caretaker, friend, unique individual – a Wired Woman has to maintain multiple personalities both on- and offline. That makes her smartphone her most valuable asset, with apps and addition- al functionalities popping up to give her access to the goods, services, and information she needs most. Is it any wonder that the productivity apps flooding the Chinese market are also some of the most prolific advertisers?18 Wired Women are constantly multitask- ing, and brands can make this easier by offering experiences and tools that simplify these women’s lives. Apps, such as WeChat, have recognized the opportunity this provides. WeChat is far more than just a messaging app, now allowing users to video call, share files, shop, find friends, split bills, and book appointments from one digital location. In some ways, WeChat has become its own operating system, combining Facebook, chat, Apple Pay, Twitter, credit card payments, and more into one app (see Figure 3). FIGURE03 WeChat activities conducted by WeChat users in China, (% of respondents)22 WeChat is far more than just a me- ssaging app, now allowing users to video call, share files, find friends, and book appointments. Voice messaging 84.5% Text messaging 83.3% Moment­* 77% Group messaging 61.7% Shake-shake 51.2% Search people nearby 48.7% Games (free) 39.4% Subscribe to official accounts of brands/products/services 22.3% Shopping 21.7% Payment via WeChat 19% Games (paid) 12.9% Purchasing stickers 10.5% *A photo-sharing feature.
  8. 8. INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS 23 Warc. “How to Reach Digital Divas in China.” 2013. Conclusion There’s little doubt that China’s Wired Women are among the world’s most important digital consumers. And their numbers are growing: 115 million women accounting for online spending in the region of $2.2 trillion.23 Wired Women are increasingly sophis- ticated and demand more than just a tactical sale. Brands must tap into their key desires, acting as conversation curators, self-demonstration facilitators, and time management enablers. And, while Chinese women stand at the forefront of these trends, they are far from alone. Wired Women can be found all over the world, with their desires further shaping the way the Internet works. While entering the Chinese market is an intricate step in terms of manage- ment and supply, multinational and in- ternational brands alike can apply these learnings from China’s Wired Women to their strategies in preparation for the future. Globally, the potential rewards are huge, but to take advantage of this enormous opportunity, brands must understand Chinese Wired Women first. Is your organization ready to transform digitally in response to the Chinese Wired Woman and others to come?
  9. 9. SapientNitro® , part of Publicis.Sapient, is a new breed of agency redefining storytelling for an always-on world. We’re changing the way our clients engage today’s connected consumers by uniquely creating integrated, immersive stories across brand communications, digital engagement, and omnichannel commerce. We call it our Storyscaping® approach, where art and imagination meet the power and scale of systems thinking. SapientNitro’s unique combination of creative, brand, and technology expertise results in one global team collaborating across disciplines, perspectives, and continents to create game-changing success for our Global 1000 clients, such as Chrysler, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Lufthansa, Target, and Vodafone, in thirty-one cities across The Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit www.sapientnitro.com. SapientNitro and Storyscaping are registered service marks of Sapient Corporation. COPYRIGHT 2015 SAPIENT CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. INSIGHTS WHERE TECHNOLOGY & STORY MEET The Insights publication features the marketing intelligence, trend forecasts, and innovative recommendations of boundary-breaking thought leaders. The SapientNitro Insights app brings that provocative collection – now in its digital form – to your on-the-go fingertips. Download the full report at sapientnitro.com/insights and, for additional interactive and related content, download the SapientNitro Insights app. Padmini Pandya Strategic Business, Planning, SapientNitro Asia Pacific ppandya@sapient.com As an industrial/organizational psychologist and founder of two American startups, Padmini now oversees Corporate Strategy for APAC, focusing on change management, organizational design, integration, and expanding SapientNitro’s footprint across Asia. Sue Su Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, SapientNitro China sue.su@sapientnitro.com Sue is a hybrid of brand planning and digital planning, with strong passion and determination to break the bound- ary where story and technology meet in this digital era (to make a difference in marketing and communication). Evelina Lye Regional Marketing Lead, SapientNitro Asia Pacific elye@sapient.com Evelina leads the marketing efforts for APAC and is at the forefront of building the agency brand in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. Evelina has worked for some of the best global agencies in Asia, UK, and Australia. Evelina spoke at SXSW 2015 on the same subject of her piece.

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