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Chinese consumers at the forefront of digital technologies

2018 Deloitte China Mobile Consumer Survey

Chinese consumers at the forefront of digital technologies: 2018 Deloitte China Mobile Consumer Survey is an online survey conducted by Deloitte China Telecommunications industry during the past five years. It focuses on consumer behaviours, trends and opinions regarding a broad range of wireless and mobility products and services. This survey covers several recent hot topics such as the AI-based mobile apps, video contents, mobile payment, high-tech homes and personal data privacy in order to reveal the key trends that drive the mobile markets and to provide suggestions for relevant enterprises. The following is a summary of the report:

Chinese users frequently replace their mobile phones

  • China’s smartphone ownership surpasses the global average, leading the world. The lifecycle and replacement frequency of mobile phones held by Chinese users are also significantly higher than those of global users.
  • Driven by new functions and high cost performance, Chinese users are still desired to replace smartphones.  

China is pioneering AI-powered mobile apps in the world

  • Thanks to massive search data, diversified product lines and vast user demands, China has seen rapid growth in AI-powered mobile apps.
  • On the whole, Chinese users utilize AI-based apps far more than global users.
Figure: Comparison of AI-based apps in Chinese and global mobile phones

Fingerprint authentication dominates the biometrics sector

  • Fingerprint authentication has overtaken password recognition to go definitely mainstream in China. Global users apply password recognition to unlocking, authorized payment and transfer more frequently than China.
  • AI-based facial recognition and speech recognition are the two fast developing recognition technologies only second to fingerprint authentication. With the rapid growth of AI and Internet of Things (IoT) in China, the country is expected to usher in an era of face scanning.

Used phone market is stagnant

  • Chinese users are frequently replacing their mobile phones, making them lie idle or unused.
  • Upstream and downstream mobile phone companies gain little from sales at a discount and old for new services, due to low costs of replacement and recycle and limited recycle channels. The future looks uncertain for China’s used mobile phone market.

Pervasive video contents

  • Video contents are becoming the information source for users, and videos are one of content forms with the highest consumption and production frequency.
  • Video aggregation platforms with featured social networking, addictive fragmented and personalized content pushes capture more user time from social media and quickly sweep across the country.
Figure: Comparison of content consumption form and frequency in mobile phones by Chinese and global users

Mobile payment beats bank cards in China 

  • The percentage of mobile phones used to manage personal banking accounts and pay for shopping in China is well above the global average.
  • Easy operation and the building of online and offline application scenarios enable mobile payment to replace bank cards as the inseparable wallet of Chinese mobile phone users.
Figure: Comparison of application of mobile phones in financial and consumption activities by Chinese and global users

China’s high-tech homes lead the world

  • Driven by domestic consumption upgrading, AI and IoT technologies, the ownership of different categories of smart home products is well above the global average. Smart speakers are highly sought-after scenario-based target for manufacturers.

The era of unlimited mobile phone data is coming

  • With the implementation of “network speed upgrade and tariff reduction” policy and cooperation between operators and internet software platforms, the rate of mobile phone data has been reduced in China and Chinese users are moving towards an era of conditional unlimited data.

Chinese users’ inclination for data privacy

  • China has few regulations on protecting user data while Chinese users are more aware of crisis than global users.
  • The degrees of leakage of Chinese users’ personal information in consumption and health are higher than the global average, companies are going through a trust crisis due to their application of users’ mobile phone data.
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