One thing that is certain in 2013 is that China will continue to be an area of intense interest and importance for many of us. Next month, Chinese will celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Snake, which is associated with grace, intelligence and material gain. The last of these will no doubt be uppermost in the minds of companies looking to expand their interests in the country in the year ahead.
There are two other events predicted to take place in China in 2013 that are potentially of longer-lasting significance. First, consumption could account for bigger share of GDP growth than investment for the first time in over a decade. This would be significant, as the emergence of a ‘consumer-led’ economy would represent considerable growth opportunities for global brands.
The other significant predication is that China will overtake the US to become the world’s biggest market for smartphone apps. The continued diffusion of mobile technology is one of the most impactful developments among consumers globally right now – as our recent work on Super-Connected Consumers has shown – and China is no exception. What’s particularly interesting to note is that many Chinese consumers are still enthused by the idea of constant connectivity – 63% agree it’s important to be reachable wherever they are, an increase of six percentage points since 2006. In contrast, developed markets display much lower and decreasing levels of agreement with this sentiment. In the US, for instance, the equivalent figure is 48%, with an eight percentage point decline since 2006.
As the lives of Chinese consumers become busier and more stressful in years to come we anticipate the aversion to an ‘always-on’ culture to grow, but in the short-term the benefits of mobile technology should be freely extolled. Two reports from GfK Consumer Trends’ Need to Know series offer more on these topics – The New Digital World: The Impact of Being Connected, released last November, and a report focusing on Chinese consumers, due for release later this month. For more information on these and other insights from GfK Consumer Trends, get in touch.
By David Crosbie, GfK Consumer Trends