Young consumers go digital in China

12 August 2011

BEIJING: Young consumers in China are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of digital activities, according to a new study.

Enovate, the research firm, polled 550 people in the 18-30 year old demographic from first and second tier Chinese cities, and reported 92% had recently bought a new mobile device or computer.

More specifically, smartphones were the gadgets being purchased with the highest degree of regularity, a trend that has resulted in growing competition among manufacturers.

Some 76% of participants owning a mobile phone or computer agreed they are making greater use of these tools for entertainment purposes than was previously the case.

In terms of the content accessed on a daily basis, 85% of the sample read news articles and 81% logged on to groups on QQ, the instant messaging site.

Elsewhere, 80% updated blogs or their social network status every day, 75% watched video with the same degree of frequency and 72% visited bulletin boards and forums.

When asked to choose whether they would prefer to give up their phone or computer, 77% of 18-22 year olds opted for the latter, measured against 58% of 23-30 year olds.

At present, 28% of contributors mainly use their phone to access apps and other add-on features rather than for traditional communications, and 38% solely employ computers for leisure purposes.

The most popular categories of mobile apps are games, used by 82% of the panel, with music-based equivalents on 81%, and social networking alternatives on 71%.

Also finding favour were applications enabling users to upload and share photos and video, on 70%, reading books and magazines with 67%, and staying up to date with the news on 66%.

Location-based service secured a 42% penetration on this metric and keeping on top of developments in the business and financial worlds hit 41%.

"We believe that young people in China, while extremely digital, are actually looking for offline experiences," said John Solomon, founder of Enovate.

"We see youth frustrated with the increasing amount of free time they have, and they often defer to digital due to boredom and a lack of 'offline' activities."

Data sourced from Campaign Asia/Enovate; additional content by Warc staff