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Social Networks - China - September 2018

“Although dominating positions rarely change, the social network market is changing fairly fast regarding functions: newsfeeds and short videos are introduced to better generate ad revenue, while dominator WeChat is building its operating system to keep its users. Also, social network shopping, grown on the grounds of online shopping, should not be overlooked by retailers.”
– Yihe Huang, Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Personal networks become an alternative shopping entrance
  • Wordless social networks expect diversified media content
  • Getting aware of social activities influencing personal portrait

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • Companies and brands
              • Users vs revenue: growth of penetration slowing down but newsfeed and short videos provide more ways to generate revenue
                • People vs content: leading platforms with distinctive impression
                  • Online vs offline: diversified content enriches social network using experience, and more online-to-offline experience also provided
                    • The consumer
                      • Social network being a comprehensive concept
                        • Figure 1: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, April 2018
                      • In addition to getting in touch with others, keeping updated is also an important purpose
                        • Figure 2: Purpose for using social networks, April 2018
                      • Platforms from Tencent dominating interpersonal networks
                        • Figure 3: Perception towards leading social network platforms, April 2018
                      • Providing incentives is not a primary reason for campaign participation
                        • Figure 4: Factors encouraging participating in social campaigns, April 2018
                      • Social network shopping is no longer rare, especially on clothes and accessories
                        • Figure 5: Category of product purchased and seen on social network platforms, April 2018
                      • Although changing fast, social networks are still essential
                        • Figure 6: Attitudes towards social networks, April 2018
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • Personal networks become an alternative shopping entrance
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Wordless social networks expect diversified media content
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 7: ‘Spring Festival Call’ Campaign Featuring Jay Chow, February 2018
                                  • Getting aware of social activities influencing personal portrait
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Figure 8: Coca-Cola China ‘Not Afraid’ Campaign, May 2018
                                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                      • Major players are trying to profit from existing users, since they find attracting new users difficult
                                        • Common interest and diversified format still have potential
                                        • Companies and Products

                                          • Difficult to increase penetration, but more ways to generate ad revenue
                                            • Market landscape: people vs content, diversity vs quality
                                              • Figure 9: Correspondence analysis – social network perception, May 2018
                                              • Figure 10: Market landscape for leading players, 2018
                                            • WeChat maintains dominating position
                                              • Figure 11: Monthly active user and growth rate of WeChat, 2013-18
                                            • QQ’s differentiating strategy still has a long way to go
                                              • Figure 12: Monthly active user and growth rate of QQ, 2013-18
                                            • Multiple digital content drives growth of Weibo
                                              • Figure 13: Monthly active user and growth rate of Weibo, 2013-18
                                            • Being quiet after aggressive profiting strategy damaged Tieba’s image
                                              • Figure 14: Baidu business quadrants by Lu Qi, former CEO of Baidu, May 2018
                                            • After merging with Tantan, Momo leads in strangers networking
                                              • Maimai, a professional networking application raises awareness by insiders’ disclosures
                                                • Introducing ‘thoughts’, Zhihu became more user-oriented
                                                  • Knowledge content helps to boost revenue of Douban
                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                    • Using interest to find people
                                                      • Using diversified media content to attract people
                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Two thirds of respondents couldn’t get rid of social networks
                                                          • Besides messaging, keeping up with current news is also a main purpose
                                                            • Clear separation on which application to use
                                                              • Participating in campaigns but not for incentives
                                                                • Purchase on social networks being quite common
                                                                  • Diversified formats of content lead to meaningful content
                                                                  • Role of Social Network

                                                                    • Addicted to social networks
                                                                      • Figure 15: Attitudes towards necessity of social networks, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 16: Preferred activities on social networks, April 2018
                                                                    • 25-29-year-olds use social networks for more applicable aims
                                                                      • Figure 17: Attitudes towards necessity of social networks, by age, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 18: Preferred activities on social networks, by age, April 2018
                                                                  • Social Network Usage

                                                                    • Following the need of connecting is to get updated
                                                                      • Figure 19: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, April 2018
                                                                    • Various usage preference among gender, city tier, and age groups
                                                                      • Figure 20: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, by gender, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 21: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, by age, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 22: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, by city tier, April 2018
                                                                  • Purpose for Using Social Network

                                                                    • Desire to keep updated drives usage
                                                                      • Figure 23: Purpose for using social networks, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 24: Purpose for using social networks, by gender, April 2018
                                                                      • Figure 25: Purpose for using social networks, by age, April 2018
                                                                    • News and updates, instead of social networking, drive the most usage
                                                                      • Figure 26: Social Network Activity – TURF Analysis – May 2018
                                                                    • Brand communication more effective on networking and tool social networks
                                                                      • Figure 27: Using social network to search for brand and products, by types of social network used, April 2018
                                                                  • Social Network Perception

                                                                    • Dominating platforms see users’ stickiness paying off
                                                                        • Figure 28: Perception towards leading social network platforms, April 2018
                                                                    • Social Network Campaign

                                                                      • Effectiveness of brand campaign is positive
                                                                        • Figure 29: Recall of brands advertised on social networks, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 30: Attitudes towards ads seen on social networks, April 2018
                                                                      • Liking the product or topic drives social campaign participation
                                                                        • Figure 31: Factors encouraging participating in social campaigns, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 32: Factors encouraging participating in social campaigns, by age, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 33: Factors encouraging participating in social campaigns, by household income level, April 2018
                                                                    • Social Network Shopping

                                                                      • Shopping on social network not rare, especially for clothing and accessories
                                                                        • Figure 34: Category of product purchased and seen on social network platforms, April 2018
                                                                      • Shopping preferences across gender, age, and city tier
                                                                        • Figure 35: Category of product purchased on social network platforms, by gender, April 2018
                                                                      • Social network shopping targeting on consumers in lower tier cities
                                                                        • Figure 36: Category of product purchased on social network platforms, by city tier, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 37: Category of product purchased on social network platforms, by household income, April 2018
                                                                      • Spokesperson being a key purchase driver
                                                                        • Figure 38: Reason for participating in social network campaigns, by seen and purchase on social networks, April 2018
                                                                    • Attitudes towards Social Network Content

                                                                      • Videos attract younger generations better than words/pictures
                                                                        • Figure 39: Media type seen more on social networks, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 40: Media type seen more on social networks, by age, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 41: Media type seen more on social networks, by city tier, April 2018
                                                                      • Positive impression on information usefulness and resonation
                                                                        • Figure 42: Perception of useful information quantity, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 43: Perception of useful information quantity, by age, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 44: Agreement on information seen on social networks, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 45: Agreement on information seen on social networks, by age, April 2018
                                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                      • Mintropolitans see social network platforms beyond the social
                                                                        • Figure 46: Usage of social network platforms in the last six months, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                        • Figure 47: Purpose for using social networks, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                      • Participating in social network campaign more likely to showcase personal image
                                                                        • Figure 48: Factors encouraging participating in social campaigns, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                      • More likely to conduct purchase, especially on knowledge content
                                                                        • Figure 49: Category of product purchased on social network platforms, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                        • Abbreviations

                                                                        Social Networks - China - September 2018

                                                                        US $4,395.00 (Excl.Tax)