As digital continues to sweep through China and consumer behaviour is transformed, a new study reveals a number of key trends likely to impact brands’ planning in 2019.

Chinese consumers now hold the world record for the number of apps on their devices – over 100 – which is an indicator of their appetite for all things digital and the rapid pace of development.

The global media agency OMD’s latest trends report summarises what its authors see as the five big trends and their implications for brands in China.

Migration from mass media to relevant content. Consumer interest in niche content, particularly conveyed by Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), is likely to grow.

Demand for relevant content is increasing, says the report. As a consequence, consumers will no longer “accept a mass, singular message across platforms”. Instead, they expect platform-specific, tailored content that is “hyper-relevant” to their own needs and interests.

Digital-driven convenience. This stresses that the demand for “convenience-focused solutions” has increased, with mobile at the centre of these solutions. “Advertisers need to ensure they are creating convenience for consumers through frictionless experiences and removing any barriers that may be considered disruptive to a seamless consumer experience.”

The fusion of offline and online worlds. There is a growing demand from consumers for brand experiences that straddle offline and online channels. As a result, brands have begun to create lifestyle experiences that include digital elements, like virtual and augmented reality. And large e-commerce brands have begun to deploy offline experiences, such as pop-up stores in physical spaces.

Online video demand continues to grow. Online video viewing is up 60% over the last two years, and there’s no sign the growth will slow in 2019, the report says. Consumers, though, now demand a wider range of videos. The study expects to see growth specifically in short videos, newsfeed videos and traditionally non-video spaces or platforms.

The evolution of digital media performance and optimisation. Investment continues to grow in data management solutions offering superior insights often in real time, allowing marketers to optimise their campaigns to a greater degree. Another aspect will be a clearer linkage between marketing performance and actual business objectives.

Samantha Jahnke, head of digital for OMD China, said, “As the digital landscape continues to evolve, brands are faced with the challenge of understanding all the latest advances and how they apply to their communications strategies.

“There is tremendous opportunity for those who become early adopters of digital innovation.”

Sourced from OMD, Campaign Brief; additional content by WARC staff