Apps gain ground in China

08 June 2011

BEIJING: Apps are playing an increasingly important role in the media consumption of young, affluent men in China, a study has found.

MediaCom, the communications network, polled 180 men from Tier 1 markets like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, alongside 420 of their counterparts living in second and third tier outlets.

Every panellist was in the 25-45 year old demographic, and claimed a household income reaching at least 30,000 yuan a month.

Some 85% of interviewees owned a smartphone, while 50% had an iPad and 34% an iPod Touch.

Penetration levels for all these appliances were higher in major cities than the smaller equivalents, the analysis showed.

Television recorded the longest daily usage time, at 3.1 hours, versus 2.5 hours using the web, and 1.9 hours for both smartphones and slates.

Elsewhere, the average respondent spent 105 yuan on apps during the last month, hitting 125 yuan in second tier regions, 118 yuan for those boasting family earnings surpassing 50,000 yuan per month.

Figures here stood at 110 yuan relating to 36-45 year olds, measured against 103 yuan for 25-35 year olds, 86 if income rates fell in the 30,000 yuan to 49,000 yuan range, and 85 in Tier 1 hubs.

The typical iPad contains 28 apps, and although no more than six are deployed with regularity, shoppers still add 18 in a normal month.

Upon looking to handsets such as Apple's iPhone or China Mobile's OPhone, subscribers generally have 24 applications saved at any given moment, add an extra 14 each month, but frequently use just five.

The most popular apps included offerings linked to music, downloaded by 59% of the iPad audience and 53% of the smartphone population.

Gaming scored 49% and 47% respectively on this metric, ahead of newspapers and magazines, logging 47% and 40% in turn.

Over a third of the two groups used navigation and mapping tools, with weather and sports alternatives leveraged by more than a quarter of these cohorts.

Finance, education, photography and health were the other categories of application witnessing a comparatively strong uptake.

On average, members of the smartphone and iPad communities spent over two hours a day using apps.

The study also questioned contributors about which advertising and marketing formats exploiting this channel held the greatest appeal.

Ads featured on the top or bottom of the screen secured 81%, beating 65% for messages within the app itself.

Another 35% stated a preference for branded apps created directly by companies.

"We never thought the various intelligent mobile products would have shocked our world," said Michelle Fu, MediaCom's head of insight.

"[They] not only influenced the way consumers [are] using mobile phones, but also have an immeasurable impact on the hardware market and internet behaviour."

Prior research from MediaCom revealed the peak period for surfing the mobile web falls between 7am and 9am, as netizens "kill time" when travelling to work.

Data sourced from MediaCom; additional content by Warc staff