Brand Strategy Open Mic Retail

Top 5 tips for targeting China’s luxury consumers with a mobile-first approach

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May 28, 2024 | 7 min read

For The Drum's Retail Focus, Huawei’s mobile ad platform, Petal Ads, looks at how luxury marketers can seize opportunities by embracing the mobile revolution.

A Chinese woman on a mobile phone in China

There’s no question that smartphones have become not just ubiquitous, but an important part of our daily lives – which is why embracing the mobile revolution is now a must for marketers.

Nowhere is this more evident than in China, with its mobile-first and inclusive digital infrastructure. With its impressive mobile adoption rate and booming mobile commerce landscape, China stands as a beacon of opportunity in the digital realm.

Read our top tips on how to reach China’s luxury consumers through a mobile-first strategy.

1. Embrace the mobile revolution in China

For marketers, embracing the mobile revolution is no longer optional – it’s essential. This involves engaging the world’s one-true mobile nation, China, with its rapid adoption of smartphones and mobile commerce.

According to Cambridge University Press, China has gained supremacy in high-speed fiber broadband availability, with the percentage of optical fiber connections in China's fixed broadband jumping from 11.60% in 2012 to 92.90% in 2019, ranking first worldwide. Smartphones are more deeply embedded in the daily lives of Chinese people, with 98.6% of Chinese netizens enjoyed access to mobile internet in 2019, much higher than the 44.2% who had access to fixed broadband.

The country has also made massive headway in boosting digital accessibility, even in the most marginalized regions, with optical fiber networks and 4G mobile networks now available in more than 98% of Chinese villages.

The ubiquity of smartphones and the affordability of internet access in China has also increased the number of Chinese consumers who use them to interact with brands and purchase a variety of goods and services.

2. Recognize shifts in luxury purchasing behavior

The rise of online luxury purchases signals a shift in consumer behavior, fueled by Millennials and Gen Z, digital natives with large spending power who feel more at home using mobile devices for their luxury purchases.

Another key driver leading high-value purchases is the mindful consumer with an interest in environmental sustainability. This group, also including younger consumers making $50,000 annually or less, rejects fast fashion in favor of quality luxury goods, even second-hand.

Furthermore, with most luxury purchases being made on or influenced by online channels including social media, luxury brands must adopt a mobile-first strategy to keep up with the trend. In fact, approximately 62.5% of affluent buyers aged 18 to 39 prefer mobile channels for their online luxury purchases.

3. Understand the growing importance of digital touchpoints

As the typical luxury consumer profile shifts, brands should prioritize digital channels to improve their relationship with customers through creative and engaging means. Well-designed digital touchpoints, like websites, apps, social media channels, and even SMS offer numerous opportunities for luxury brands to deliver intimate and convenient experiences for consumers. These touchpoints can also help highlight the unique qualities and heritage of each brand while offering speed and convenience.

In the Chinese market, various immersive and sensorial mobile ad formats are gaining popularity. One such format utilizes 3D effects, through advanced technology, that allows viewers to actively engage with the advertisement. For luxury brands, this could be the perfect way to ignite that relationship between brand and consumer.

Thinking mobile-first is only going to get more important for luxury brands, with most of the growth in personal luxury retail sales set to come from e-commerce by 2026 in the US, and more people being influenced by digital touchpoints with a brand before they finally purchase, whether online or in the physical store.

4. Utilize effective mobile advertising platforms

A competent mobile advertising partner is a must for luxury brands to connect with consumers where they are most active and engaged. Run by a dedicated team in Europe, Huawei’s mobile advertising platform Petal Ads provides a full ecosystem and variety of efficient channels.

With a deep understanding of Chinese consumers, the platform’s vast user base also allows it to deliver rich consumer data. In January 2024, Counterpoint reported that Huawei ranked first in China for smartphone sales.

Additionally, Huawei smartphone shipments in China hit 10.4 million with 47% year-over-year growth in Q4 last year according to Canalys, with BCI revealing that Huawei foldable handsets reached 51.23% of the market share at first place in China during the same period. Through precise targeting and creating personalized brand experiences on mobile, brands can enjoy cost-effective campaigns.

Esthetics and symbolism hold profound significance in China, transforming visual content into a language of its own. Want to captivate Chinese audiences who respond to specific types of advertising? Petal Ads is your golden ticket. In China, where expectations differ from their European counterparts, its expertise helps build the creativities that speak directly to this audience.

5. Leverage data for personalized customer experiences

Tailoring your strategy to specific audience segments is key to its effectiveness. This is especially true in China where its huge, diverse populace means characteristics like age, gender, location, income level, and lifestyle vary significantly from region to region.

Better understand your audience’s luxury preferences by partnering with Petal Ads. With valuable first-party data from Huawei’s 730 million users worldwide – including 500 million in China with 130 million high-end users – brands can precisely target customers across AppGallery, Display and Search Ads. The benefit? Reaching your target audience and delivering highly personalized, location-based, and contextually relevant content.

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on The Drum on 16/07/2024 and is republished here, verbatim, for inclusion in The Drum's Retail Focus.

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