China Consumers Lead In Adopting Technology, finds KPMG Survey

Using Social Media To Engage With Consumers Is Critical For Retailers

6 November 2018 – China consumers are ahead of global counterparts in terms of adopting new technologies, and eight in ten Chinese consumers indicated having a dynamic social media presence is important among the brands they consistently purchase from, find a KPMG global survey.

The study, published as part of the 2018 Me, My Life, My Wallet report, includes a survey of 25,000 consumers in the UK, US, UAE, France, Brazil, Canada, China and India, assessing consumption behaviors.

It finds that Chinese consumers are ahead of their counterparts in terms of technology adoption. More than half (53 percent) of the surveyed China respondents indicated that they are very interested in new technology and will be the first ones to buy a new device when it comes out, ahead of the 29 percent global average.

China respondents are more interested in using ‘new tech’ such as AI, voice and machine learning — particularly virtual personal assistants, online shopping ads/purchase prediction, music recommendations and smart home devices. They are also more accustomed to only shop online (59 percent) than their global peers (37 percent); 73 percent said they would rather lose their wallet than their phone.

Wei Lin, Partner, Global Strategy Group, Consumer & Retail Advisory Lead, KPMG China, says: “Today, it is imperative that retail companies think more about digital transformation to create a truly connected enterprise to harness the power of data.”

The survey highlights that 70 percent of China respondents claimed they like a brand or company frequently using social media to speak to them directly as a consumer; 79 percent indicated that an engaging social media presence is important among the brands they consistently purchase from (global average stands at 55 percent and 48 percent, respectively). Also, half of the Chinese consumers said offering deals or discounts through social media will likely to provide a brand with a more positive image.

“Strategic partnerships and alliances are proving to be key drivers as retailers develop more open and collaborative initiatives with suppliers and channel partners as well as platforms,” Lin adds.

Separately, 91 percent of China respondents indicated they are willing to provide business with their data in return for benefits, such as better customer experience and personalization (37 percent) as well as better products and service (24 percent). In comparison, a quarter of global respondents said they would not trade their data.

Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer and Retail, ASPAC and Head of Technology, Hong Kong, KPMG China, says: “Data is an incredible resource for any company, but the Chinese internet companies have an enormous amount of it and are very skillful in using data to build compelling services.”

In terms of sectors, China respondents have the highest level of trust in technologies (77 percent), of power & utility (76 percent) and banking (74 percent), while the bottom three are advertisement, wealth management and insurance, the survey shows.

Bailey concludes: “Companies need to think about how to use data responsibly to build deeper insights and relationships with their customers. However, they must engage their customers in an open and honest dialogue about such use.”

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