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China's 2017 shaped by downturn, data

News, 12 December 2016
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SHANGHAI: The rise of chatbots, video live-streaming and the sharing economy are set to shape China's marketing landscape in 2017, amid dwindling budgets and challenging economic headwinds.

And as the Chinese economy continues to cool, marketers will need to think long-term for growth. That is according to a new Warc report, entitled Trend Watch: What brands can expect from China in 2017.

Economic growth is likely to slow to around 6.5% in 2017, the report said. At the same time, wage bills have risen and will stay on an upward trajectory, meaning there are likely to be cuts to marketing budgets coupled with demand for greater efficiencies.

Turning to social media, the report said Chinese consumers are now leaving behind detailed data trails and digital fingerprints through their extensive social media engagement, and smart use of this data will see savvier brands gain an edge in 2017.

Expect Chinese marketers to make use of solutions that allow them to leverage existing customer information across vendors and platforms. This will happen both online and offline.

In addition, instant gratification has taken an entirely new dimension in China, particularly via instant purchasing capability and video live-streaming.

China's live-streaming industry – worth $1.8bn in 2015 – is predicted to expand to $15.9bn by 2020, according to Huachang Securities.

Live-streaming with the ability to order instantly is taking Chinese consumers by storm – shortening the purchase cycle down to a few minutes, or even seconds.

Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, recently tapped into this trend just ahead of Singles' Day when it hosted an eight-hour live fashion show streamed via Tmall, Youku and Taobao, inviting viewers to pre-order items in the show in real-time.

The trends report goes on to say that in 2017 marketers should expect China's brands to invest in artificial intelligence to ramp up customer experience online, particularly in mobile commerce.

The time is ripe for marketers to deploy deep machine learning and data to serve up better, customised experiences and services as China’s discerning customers demand more personalised marketing services.

Personalising campaigns across different touchpoints will become quicker and easier with the effective use of data, and more brands will build campaigns across marketing channels that are relevant to an individual's in-app behaviour. They also will allow buyers to personalise select elements of their purchase.

Data sourced from Warc

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