Chinese youth go mobile

22 December 2011

SHANGHAI: Young Chinese consumers living in urban areas feel more positively towards e-commerce and the mobile web than those in older age groups, according to a study from GroupM.

The media agency said that three in four of the university students it polled for the new survey had been going online for three years or more, with the group typically spending 18% of their daily time on the web.

Among city-dwellers as a whole, this proportion falls to just 13% of waking hours.

In all, GroupM interviewed 1,650 students aged between 17 and 21 years old. All participants lived in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, meaning results are not nationally representative.

The most popular websites among respondents were social in nature, with Weibos – the Chinese equivalent of microblogs like Twitter – social networks and chat sites ranking highest.

General sentiment towards online shopping sites – with Taobao the market leader in this sector – was another point of differentiation between the age groups.

The report found that 52% of the young survey respondents "love" going online to shop, compared to 20% of all Chinese web users.

Media-wise, the mobile phone was central to the students' online lives, with 86% using the internet on their handsets. Just 40% went online via desktop PCs.

Across all age groups, 66% used the mobile web.

Lucy Zhang, futures director at GroupM Knowledge China, said: "The 90s' generation lives and grow[s] up in the digital era.

"Understanding their digital behavior will not only show brands information like consumption habits or brand preferences, but [will] even give us a preview of digital trends. Their favorites today will be considered mainstream in the future."

For more information about the GroupM research, including charts, Warc subscribers can browse the full report.

Data sourced from GroupM; additional content by Warc staff