I am just back from what I consider to be the most important wine show on the international wine calendar, Prowein. Each year, I am again inspired by the energy of the industry and insights from experts as shared at several seminars. Each year Wine Intelligence, a company dedicated to providing insight, information and strategic advice to the wine industry, present a few very interesting seminars.
While I will shortly be sharing more on global consumer trends, I thought to share insights on Social Media as per Wine Intelligence’s comparison of China and Australia. Download presentation.
Although the importance of social media has not been up for debate for quite a while, cultural norms, similarities and values still apply even online and people mainly connect to and value the opinions of those who are similar to them.
Just as for traditional marketing and media, online and social media marketing also require strategy, focus and research. One way of telling your story does not necessarily work for everyone. You need information, you need to understand the trends, the demands and you have to tailor accordingly.
As with social media, the importance of online shopping is a given. And although in South Africa we are still catching on, even here it is already at the order of the day. In China specifically, the online conversation, whether it is social media or shopping, mainly happens on mobile devices – smartphones. China’s internet population (2012 figures) is 564 million! Compare this to what we consider to be the consumer-driven economy of America with 254 million. It is really something to get your head around!
The smartphone culture of China also explains why statistics show that instant messaging is much more popular than online search engine usage. Asking for an opinion or advice are done by using WeChat rather than searching online. Instant messaging in China increased by 86% between 2012 and 2013 and search engine usage declined with 79% for the same period.
The statistics are mind-blowing: Of 33.4 million urban-based Chinese between 18 and 54 years of age, who drink wine and use the internet, 62% search for wine information online and 47% bought wine online in the last 6 months. These are enormous figures for anyone trying to sell wine.
But the East differs quite a bit from the West – and that is not just geologically, of course. Australia is not too far from China, but how do they use social media and online tools for buying and selling wine?
To compare with the Chinese figures: In Australia 8.8 million regular wine drinkers are also internet users but in this case about 40% use mobile devices (phones and tablets) and about 60% still rely on computers. In 2014, only 17% used wine applications on smartphones and online wine searches were mainly in order to determine stockists, prices and to find new products. Social sharing – pictures with friends enjoying wine or visiting a wine estate – is a very important part of wine-related social media in Australia.
From this research, it seems that the online wine world in Australia is more experience and socially driven where in China the focus is more commercial. Just goes to show that all the online tools are important: we have to share our stories, create experiences and have an accessible online purchase facility! And we have to tailor these so that they appeal to various audiences. Never a dull moment!
Looking forward to sharing more on the latest consumer trends next week!