Social platforms have become our new sitting rooms. The online environment is not only where we work and shop, but also where we socialise. Addressing this extension of our everyday life, the online space combines three of the biggest trends in marketing: apps, accessibility and the quest for authenticity.
Apps have taken over our world in a record time. It is only ten years since Apple launched the first iPhone App Store, but we have come a long way in this relative short time. An article published by Pew Research Center eight years ago, stated: “With the advent of the mobile phone, the term “app” has become popular parlance for software applications designed to run on mobile phone operating systems, yet a standard, industry-wide definition of what is, and is not, an “app” does not currently exist.” And even more interestingly: “35% of adults have cell phones with apps, but only two-thirds of those who have apps actually use them.”
How things have changed! Compare these quotes to a recent blog on AppAnnie stating that Smartphone users have an average of 80 apps on their phones and use about 40 of them in a given month. Their research shows that 2017 saw almost 4 billion connected mobile devices generating 178 billion annual app downloads and more than $81 billion in app store consumer spend. Consumer spend in app stores is predicted to reach $156.5 billion by 2022. There is rapid growth in app store spend, as well as in-app ad spend and m-commerce.
And the app charge is led by China. “China’s position in the global app economy is now, and will continue to be, enormous.” China took the number one spot when it comes to both app downloads and app spend in 2017 and the forecast for 2022 is that it will keep its number one position with a 51% growth for downloads and 107% growth in spend. (See the reports)
The importance of WeChat and m-commerce was also part of a seminar on the Chinese Wine Market at Vinexpo Hong Kong earlier this week. Supporting the continued focus on direct business, e-commerce is changing distribution networks as well as marketing focus.
Quoting one of the members on the panel: “Two-thirds of online wine shopping is done by those born after 1980”. For this younger generation, especially in China, online shopping is not only about purchasing, it is also about social sharing.
Product reviews and sharing of their product experience are how the young Chinese research products. And they do extensive research before making purchasing decisions. According to a KPMG report, China’s Connected Consumers 2016, 60.8% of Chinese online shoppers say they search online for reviews and recommendations, a much higher rate than the 39.4% of consumers in the United States”. According to a 2017 Nielsen Retail Sales study, 65% of online respondents in China will try a new and innovative premium product based on the recommendations of friends and family. Online (especially mobile) price bench-marking is also a general practice for young consumers in China.
While traditional advertising still has a strong presence, brands trying to be successful in China can’t ignore the importance of emotion and an authentic experience. Everyday consumers, often without much product knowledge, especially when it comes to wine, will recommend products based on their experience or how it made them feel. This happens globally, but with “lifestyle” becoming more important under younger Chinese generations, there is a unique opportunity for wine brands to capture the online audience, especially with a rich media brand experience, such as video, that is accessible and digestible.
While some of the premium Chinese wine brands are producing excellent wines, imported wines to China grew with 26% over the last 12 months. This stays an important market for imported wine and it will be worth your while, to keep your marketing focus on Authenticity, Accessibility and App-ability!