Study of Evolution of SME Business in Macao – from the Perspective of the “Online Consumer” Behavior in Mainland China
With the rapid growth of e-commerce, the size of “Online Consumer Group” in Mainland China is continuously growing. Recent statistics suggests that the number of e-commerce user in China has increased from 690 million in 2017 to 830 million in 2019, which implies that consumer behavior might have a great impact on enterprises’ operation and performance.
This report sorts out the consumer behaviors of the “Online Consumer Group” in Mainland China, includes:
1. Preference in using mobile payment: mobile phone and tablet are now the dominant devices Mainland consumers use for making payments. According to Global Ecommerce 2019, published by research institute eMarketer, 80% of the value of e-commerce trade in 2019 was transacted via mobile devices. As manifested by the data released by Statista, Alipay and WeChat Pay are the most used mobile payment methods in Mainland China, with respectively 87% and 76% of market penetration by the end of 2019. Based on the data, other frequently used payment methods included “QQ Wallet” and “Baidu Wallet”.
2. Increased use of social media in terms of discovering matters that interest consumers: The number of people in Mainland China looking for and directly buying things that interest them surged dramatically. According to China Digital Consumer Trends 2019, 50% of interviewed subjects browsed through goods on social media platforms, which might lead to their consumption; 48% of interviewees would be interested by the goods; 25% of interviewed individuals would even directly purchase goods on social media platforms.
3. Preference in making decision to spend money after having both online and offline customer experience: China Digital Consumer Trends 2019 reported that more and more customers in Mainland China tended to combine online and offline customer experience before deciding whether to spend money for goods or services. Take apparel market – the biggest part in China’s e-commerce market – as example, 85% of customers would have both online and offline customer experiences, including “actually seeing/touching/hearing the products and buying online” (4%), “evaluating the products online and buying them at brick-and-mortar shops” (32%) and “comprehensively mixed experience” (meaning both online and offline customer experiences are involved in the whole consumption process) (49%).
Addressing the continuous growth in the population of “Online Consumer Group” in Mainland China, many small and medium-sized enterprises (hereinafter referred to as “SMEs”) in Macao have made corresponding adjustments in business operation, including:
1. Accepting a variety of mobile payment methods: More mobile payment methods are now available in Macao merchants to provide better shopping experience for tourists. In particular, “Alipay” and “WeChat Pay”, which are the payment methods mostly used by the Online Consumer Group in Mainland China, are penetrating the Macao market increasingly.
2. Use of new media for advertising and promotion: Taking into consideration that Mainland costumers tend to look for information and products that interest them on social media, different sectors in Macao are now publicising their products in more diversified ways on new media platforms. Such approach allows products to reach more Mainland customers in a more effective way.
3. Application of technological means in MICE events: To keep up with times, more and more technologies are employed in Macao’s conventions and exhibitions, which are currently some of the most important platforms for SMEs to publicise their companies and products.
From the perspective of “Experience Economy”, to build up a better consumer experience, this report recommends Macao SMEs the following:
1. Enhancing the efficiency of operational management by adopting mobile technologies, such as mobile food ordering systems.
2. Encouraging customers to share the consumer experience via social platforms, launching special offers on e-commerce platforms on a regularly basis, publicising products via short videos or live-streaming.
3. Increasing participation in MICE events, especially the trade events in Mainland China as they can serve as offline publicity platform, which has great potential to be combined with product promotion on social media mentioned above and grow into effective sales channels.