Happy December! Thanks for tuning into our Starcom MediaVest Yangtze Study on lower tier China consumers. We have 2 more posts to go and we’ll be concluding our discussion.
This week, we take a good hard look at media usage amongst lower tier consumers; specifically their digital and mobile usage.
If you have just started reading, please scroll to the bottom to find links to previous week’s insights.
If talking is in our nature, digital has become the great enabler. As we start to look at media consumption and media habits in lower tiers, we find that despite a more simple and rural living; digital has become a crucial and integrated part in their lives.
UNITED DIGITAL REPUBLIC
The digital wave has hit China… and what’s more, it has hit China’s lower tiers with force. Digitals overall reach is ranked 3rd – right behind TV and OOH. But more than this, all you need to do is look around the homes of people in lower tiers. TV may still occupy the center of the home, but the computer and mobile is the place the younger generations are choosing to spend their time. In fact, online alone has the potential to replace CCTV as the most widely reached media for Tiers 1-4.
TV and OOH still have the greatest opportunity to reach people but as you can see Digital is fast catching up:
And across tiers, China is speaking with one voice – the medium they are looking to spend the most time with is their computers
It makes sense when you take a look at the Chinese family structure – especially in lower tiers. Several generations are still living under the same roof. There is only one TV in the one living room, and this is where parents and grandparents gather to watch their shows. Where does this leave the younger generation? Retreated to their room to spend hours on the PC (or on their mobile, for those who do not have a PC/laptop at home) to stream or download their favourite shows to watch.
Lower tier netizens are also looking more for ways to stay connected versus to explore. They prefer to stay with the tried-tested-and-true sites that they know and will not stray far from sites they are familiar with. Thus, their online use tends to be limited to a few sites only. Many even say that they have set icons of their favourite one or two sites on their desktops so they can click and go quickly and easily without even opening their browser.
Time and again, video streaming and QQ are the most (or only) visited sites. Their mantra seems to be: “Keep me connected and keep me entertained”.
Says Lisa Richert, Strategy Director, North Asia:
“With this growth, we need to “nationalize” our digital strategies. Now, this does not mean one size fits all. But it does mean that we need to stop thinking that digital engagement is something only for the upper tiers. The opportunity lies in understanding what our communications objectives are, what the pull points are in lower tiers within digital and seeing where they match.”
MY COMPUTER IS MY TV
Speaking of entertainment, online entertainment – especially video – is a favourite way to pass time. Many younger consumers may not even own a TV anymore. We visited flats of young lower tier singles in their late 20s and early 30s and a TV was nowhere in sight. Instead, they made a bee-line to their computer as soon as they got home and turned it on and immediately logged onto QQ.
Despite this, their other online interactions are quite limited. They don’t think of using the internet for other things, such as meeting new people or exploring passions or even just surfing the web to see what’s available. They know what they want to do – and that is usually to watch online shows or chat with friends they know offline on QQ.
Granted when we add all of the TV hours up, they are significant. The point is that Online Video is not just starting to grow… it IS a vital channel where people are looking for Content. It has now become a media which we need to consider alongside TV.
As online video penetration grows, this helps answer to another lower tier struggle – literacy. One respondent from Qingyuan said that she only has middle school education, so she can’t read many words. That’s why she prefers online video over searching for information online.
Says Jeffrey Tan, National Research & Insights Director:
“We are highlighting a huge opportunity across tiers – video neutral or screens planning – leveraging not just different kinds of TV but all the different forms of video contacts when planning your media campaigns. The people that consume our products are changing how they consume our Content – we need to expand with them and bring our messages to the different places where they are.”
MY MOBILE, MY CONSTANT COMPANION
No matter where across China, mobile is the medium that has the greatest impact on people’s daily lives. Even for lower tier consumers who cannot afford a computer, or even a TV, they are sure to have a mobile. And with the penetration of 3G throughout China, mobile internet is taking off in a big way.
Students without computers download videos from their friend’s computer or through school to watch on their mobile at night. Mobile QQ keeps them company as they use their mobiles to stay connected with friends and family living in other cities.
This young lady is Ms Wu and she is 17 years old. Her daily routine is to chat on QQ using her mobile while lying down in bed until she falls asleep. She doesn’t have a PC and uses her mobile as her lifeline to others.
We need to make sure our content and our interactions are compatible for people like Ms Wu. Particularly in lower tier markets, we may need to change our thinking so that we put mobile as our primary consideration and tailor messaging to the way accessibility and navigation is designed for mobile. Leveraging the growth of LBS (Location Based Services) in China to tailor information to be more region-specific may be very powerful in lower tiers. Offer opportunities at the shelf, on packaging, on OOH boards to draw people in.
The desire to talk and connect has come up time and again in our study. From wanting new things to talk about to how the online space is keeping lower tier consumers connected as well as entertained. All of this fits with mobile, as we look at the spikes for mobile instant messaging (IM).
Starcom MediaVest Yangtze Study – Insights Links:
Week 0: Kick-off and study details. Click here.
Week 1: It’s a Matter of Perspective – Click here.
Week 2: The Secrets of the Heart – Click here.
Week 3: Celebrating the Power of Family – Click here.
Week 4: Unveiling Community Dynamics – Click here.
Week 5: The World Outside My Door – Click here.
Week 6: Purchases and Product Consumption – Click here.
Week 7: Who Do I Turn To? – Click here.