BEIJING: Consumers across China are adopting increasingly diverse media habits, with people living in smaller cities often showing the highest levels of digital engagement.

Starcom MediaVest Group, the agency network, conducted qualitative and quantitative research with 13,507 individuals in the 13–45 year old age range, and drawn from 510 locations in 27 provinces.

Overall, it reported that out-of-home advertising had the greatest reach on 77%, a figure standing at 76% regarding television, while digital formats logged a combined figure of around 60%.

In terms of daily media use, however, participants with online access spent 3.3 hours on the web per day, measured against 2.2 hours watching TV and 0.5 hours of exposure to outdoor advertising.

Contributors in mid-sized Tier 3 outlets dedicated the most time to the internet, on a daily total of 3.6 hours, falling to 3.1 hours from first and second tier areas.

Online video has proved especially attractive, as connected consumers devoted 1.8 hours to streaming this material on a computer or mobile each day, hitting two hours for Tier 2 residents.

"There is a growing population of netizens in lower tiers who do not even have a TV set at home and instead are choosing to watch most of their TV content online," Jeffrey Tan, SMG China's national research and insights director, said.

Elsewhere, the analysis found 62% of respondents in Tier 1 cities including Shanghai and Beijing believed "famous" brands could improve their social status, declining to 41% in the smallest Tier 5 markets.

Comparable differences were observable when it came to determining success and happiness, as 64% of Tier 1 participants gave money a leading role here, sliding to 42% in Tier 5.

Stronger similarity was discovered among the panel relating to worries about the reliability and safety of products, and a desire for reassurance. Therefore, brands have a "real opportunity to become trusted sources of information," the study suggested.

Environmental topics ranging from climate change as a whole to specific issues like pollution were another widespread matter of concern, cited as such by 61% of consumers.

Certain traditional values also retain an appeal, though, as 81% of interviewees agreed their family was more important than their career.

Data sourced from Starcom MediaVest; additional content by Warc staff