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Forrester: Chinese Consumers Are Sophisticated Mobile Users – But Only On The Surface

China is the largest smartphone market in the world, with what appears to be highly sophisticated mobile users. Metro Chinese consumers use mobile for everything from social media to watching video to shopping. Yet sophisticated mobile marketing programs with data-heavy, fancy apps will not appeal to them, according to the latest study by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq:FORR) on Chinese mobile consumers. In understanding the mobile marketing nuances in China, Forrester analyst Xiaofeng Wang uncovers unexpected challenges for marketers to reach them:

  • Chinese Mobile Users Are Not Always Addressable As Expected
    Despite their sophistication, Chinese mobile users suffer from slow Internet speed on the go, and most of their advanced mobile tasks are taking place over Wi-Fi. Today, only 24 percent of Chinese consumers use public Wi-Fi hotspots provided by telecoms, making their mobile engagement less “on the go” than in many other markets.
  • Sophisticated Mobile Marketing Programs Are Not The Smartest Approach
    Chinese mobile users prefer to use data-light apps such as mobile messaging and social platforms, which provide a better user experience under low-speed mobile Internet connections. Ninety-one percent of metro online Chinese mobile consumers have used instant messaging apps on their mobile phones. Sophisticated mobile marketing programs or data-heavy, fancy apps will not appeal to them.
  • Instead of Building An App, Partner With Popular Third-Party Apps For Mobile Marketing
    Brands set on building their own app, must remember that creating it is only part of the challenge. Getting users to download or use it on 2G speeds, and overall maintenance of the technology on the Chinese mobile infrastructure are additional considerations. As an alternative, marketers are recommended to consider working with popular apps that have already become part of consumers’ daily mobile lives. For example, Chinese consumers flock to local mobile apps, such as Moji Weather and WeChat. The latter has a database that reportedly surpassed 600 million users.

Xiaofeng Wang will be presenting her research on mobile marketing at Forrester Research’s Summit for Marketing & Strategy Professionals in Shanghai, on March 19, 2014. For more information or to register for the Summit, please visit the Summit website.

About Forrester Research

Forrester Research (Nasdaq:FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow. Visit www.forrester.com.

© 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester is a trademark of Forrester Research, Inc.

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