BEIJING: More than 80% of web users in China say surfing the internet is their number one leisure activity, a survey has revealed.

Prosper China, the research firm, interviewed 18,089 adults in the country to gain an insight into current attitudes and behaviour.

Overall, 81.4% of participants agreed browsing the net constituted their favourite way to spend free time, indicating a substantial opportunity for marketers.

Some 54.3% used instant messaging and chat services, and 43% downloaded music and videos, with shopping and celebrity gossip proving similarly popular.

More specifically, 29.2% of consumers said QQ was one preferred destination, a total standing at 17.4% for Sina, with these sites also the top two for reading news content.

In all, 76.6% of respondents most regularly utilised Baidu when searching for information, Prosper China revealed.

By subject, 52.2% sought out material discussing movies, 49.5% located maps and directions, and 48.8% tracked down details about apparel and footwear.

Elsewhere, 52.5% of 18-34 year olds entered enquires concerning clothing and shoes, while 50.6% did so to access entertainment portals.

Among their counterparts in the 35-54 year old demographic, 45.7% looked for comparative shopping sites, and 45.6% aimed to discover relevant travel-based content.

Indeed, 56.3% of netizens now frequently research products online before buying them in store, peaking at 58.6% in the 18-34 year old segment.

These figures reached 54.3% and 42.5% respectively for the 35-54 year old cohort, according to Prosper China.

Furthermore, 14.2% of the panel said internet advertising had an impact on automotive purchases, falling to 12.8% for blogs, while web radio and instant messaging also played a role.

Regarding grocery goods, online ads posted a score of 9.6%, the same rating as instant messaging, with social media on 8.1%.

Finally, 50.8% of 18-34 years olds often bought items via e-commerce platforms, a trend set to gain ground going forward.

Data sourced from Propser China; additional content by Warc staff