SINGAPORE: Affluent online shoppers in China patronise both online retailers and brand websites when making purchases but the preferred source of product information and advertising varies widely depending on category a new report has said.

For its Affluent Insights study, Agility Research & Strategy polled 1500 (equally distributed) online affluent respondents in five countries – China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and the US. The Chinese part of the study revealed that online shoppers were typically in the 18-34 age group, skewed towards women (54:46) and mostly with children (85%).

In the fashion category, was a popular site – 39% of respondents had bought something there during the preceding 12 months – but brand-specific sites also featured strongly, including (35%) and (25%).

What was driving them to these sites was most likely to be media articles, television and website ads. These were the three information channels where respondents indicated they would pay most attention to information and advertising about this particular category.

Media articles and television featured in the related categories of cosmetics and jewellery, but blogs and forums carried additional weight in cosmetics while sponsored links were important for jewellery. Media articles made an impact in watches too, where shopping malls and magazines were also deemed influential.

Sponsored links, media articles and outdoor ads piqued interest in cars, while sponsored links, online news and television were preferred for the alcohol category.

Website ads were important for travel brands although online news and magazine and mobile ads were preferred when it came to airline tickets, with posts and media articles attracting more attention for hotels.

Global brands featured prominently in all categories save finance where affluent online Chinese consumers overwhelmingly favoured local brands. Brands not making the list could think about evaluating and fine tuning their marketing efforts based on the successes of favoured brands, the study suggested.

Further, brands not doing well in China could consider selling their products on popular retail sites, or appearing on hot branded sites via brand collaborations. An alternative, said Agility, would be to buy advertising space on the preferred sites.

Data sourced from Agility Research & Strategy; additional content by Warc staff