Top China Digital Marketing Trends 2020 – What’s Your Next Step?

China Digital Marketing 2020: Are you ready for 2020?

It’s the year of making things happen as we embark on a new year where digital marketing trends can also help marketers and companies on what to do next.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the latest China digital marketing trends 2020. Find out how these trends can help you build your brand and grow your business for the next few years. 

As of this writing, there are more than 800 million Chinese internet users whose inclination to stay connected is unquestionably getting stronger. 

When it comes to the digital marketing landscape in China, e-commerce, social media, and mobile marketing are intertwined. 

digital marketing trends 2020 china

But emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, data analytics, 5G adoption, and blockchain are also shaping the online habits of Chinese consumers. 

Let’s take a look at the trends and to help you position your brand better and generate more exposure online. 

China Digital Marketing 2020: Convergence of live streaming and online selling

A decade ago, static web pages with images of products and product descriptions were enough to sell goods online. 

While this is still the norm on Amazon and eBay, the e-commerce landscape in China is fast-paced and unpredictable. 

These days, the convergence of live streaming and online selling helps retailers and brands to reach out to online shoppers in creative ways. 

In 2020, live streaming while selling will help not just mom-and-pop retailers, but luxury brands. 

You’ll see more social video marketing in e-commerce where brands will have to find and work with KOLs and self-produced short videos to engage with the shoppers online. 

What’s your next step: Live streaming and live selling work best in retail and luxury goods sectors. China’s popular platforms like Weibo and WeChat have featured seamless e-commerce integration within the content and posts. You’d have to review and assess how popular brands and KOLs are doing it in China and then tailor your strategy that best fits your brand and engagement to the community. Moving forward, you need to think and see how an e-commerce element is folded into your content. 

China Digital Marketing 2020: The rise of internet personalities in emerging cities and the popularity of short video apps

We’ve seen how Douyin has shaped the way KOLs engaged with their followers since last year. 

KOLs are also generating a tremendous amount of income with their roles as beauty vloggers and reviewers of a variety of products. 

These short video apps are also attracting more foreign brands to explore the features and make sure that consumers experience seamless social commerce while watching videos. 

Now live streaming in China isn’t just for professional KOLs these days. More internet personalities from rural areas are emerging, and they are capitalizing live streaming in the hopes of fame and wealth, thanks to Kuaishou, a Tencent-backed short video platform. 

According to Kuaishou, this Chinese live-streamer dubbed “Xin Ba” sold 42.5 million sets of Whoo Korean skincare products and generated $57 million in sales during that event. 

In a nutshell, global brands and marketers can’t overlook the effects of short video apps not just in brand awareness but also in generating sales. The consumers in emerging cities or rural areas are becoming more active in these short video apps, too. 

However, finding the right person to help build the brand is a challenging quest. 

What’s your next step: Do you think short videos can help you achieve your goals? While short video apps are getting more popular, you still have to assess whether it will always be beneficial to use them for the long-term. Working with KOLs and internet personalities comes with a price tag, too. So, your next step is to consider whether you’re off to target consumers in emerging cities, so you know which platforms and what strategies to apply. 

5G adoption and integration in different sectors

China switched on the world’s largest 5G network in November 2019. The three state-run telecoms, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, offer 5G plans, giving Chinese consumers ultra-fast service via mobile devices. 

So, once the 5G technology becomes the norm in the market, imagine how consumers, even from remote places in Mainland, would use their mobile devices. As of this writing, the 5G commercial services are already available in 50 cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. 

While the 5G technology is still in its infancy in Mainland, the speed that the technology brings will also have a significant impact on most business sectors, from manufacturing to marketing and reshaping how Chinse consumers will interact with online content. 

Kantar’s research noted that 5G will allow people to stream TV and video content without Wi-Fi access, but its adoption will have to push different sectors to improve and develop infrastructures to provide a better experience to consumers.

Several Chinese companies have already started selling 5G-enabled devices. Huawei is still the leader in this market. 

What’s your next step: Don’t overlook your mobile marketing strategies. If you want to launch a Chinese website, don’t ignore the mobile responsiveness and other elements that give emphasis on accessibility and convenience in mobile devices. From designs to ads and user experience, everything has to be “mobile-first” for better customer engagement and experience. 

Luxury brands shifting to a more D2C approach

The demand for luxury goods of Chinese consumers pushes brands to embrace the digital approach in selling, thus giving more opportunities to D2C or direct-to-consumer marketing. 

D2C has transformed the retail and wholesale industries in China as consumers have become more digitally-savvy when it comes to buying and selling goods. User-generated content will be an irreversible trend in 2020 as social media engagement increases, and the popularity of live stream selling and short video apps are also booming.

D2C model allows luxury brands to sell directly to consumers without the middlemen, whether they’re the retailers or resellers. Luxury brands would have to step forward and adopt some of the grass-roots marketing of Warby Parker, Everlane, and Glossier, which are expected to become the new luxury among the new wave of shoppers. 

One of the challenges in adopting D2C is the logistics and supply chain. They’d have to invest in effective warehousing and shipping models to accommodate the demand. 

Another challenge is that luxury brands would have to do all the work in selling and marketing, which retailers are good at it because they understand shoppers and have a structured system to manage the entire distribution. 

In 2020, more luxury brands would likely adapt to D2C as e-commerce fuels the demand for goods and shape the way shoppers buy products online. 

What’s your next step: D2C approach means luxury brands would need to be more engaging and connected with the consumers. If you’re a luxury brand, you may want to consider planning your communication channels and strategies that comprise e-commerce and social media, including customer support and shipping and warehousing methods. If this is too much for you, you can use a little bit of D2C to launch new products and test innovative ideas before you push them to your retailers. The key is to strike a balance between the D2C and the traditional approach to avoid undercutting the middlemen entirely if you’re still embracing the B2C approach.

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