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The digital lives of Chinese consumers

Accenture China Consumer Insights: Communications, Media and Technology Industries


China’s consumer market is changing rapidly due to urbanization, demographic shifts, rapid economic growth and the increasing prevalence of digital technology. Digital consumers are rapidly becoming mainstream consumers. This presents both significant opportunities and complex challenges for companies looking to compete in the world’s second largest consumer market.

Accenture’s China Consumer Insights project surveyed and studied the digital behavior of consumers across a wide range of industries in China, using multiple variables to profile urban consumers. Through this study, we obtained four major insights regarding digital consumers based on analysis of the survey data.

These we believe will serve as a valuable guide for enterprises in the communications, media and technology industries as they strive not only to develop their digital offerings but also enable the digital lifestyles of consumers.


Digitalization has created a new generation of Chinese consumers. These emerging consumers have more sophisticated consumption habits than Chinese consumers ever had in the past. To be successful, enterprises need to understand their customers and offer a distinctive experience to them. Understanding customers requires getting valuable actionable insights about them.

Accenture launched a survey of mainstream consumers in major Chinese cities based on a thorough consideration of the above factors. We interviewed 3,000 consumers in 22 cities and conducted an in-depth analysis of their digitalized lives.

In addition to focusing our survey in urban areas, our analysis takes into account geographic and demographic diversity, and is based on individual needs, attitudes and behaviors rather than a single factor, such as age or geography. As a result, our findings are closely related to each individual industry group and are timely and actionable.

Key Findings

We obtained four major insights into the communications, media and technology industries through rigorous analysis of the survey data.

  • Emerging digital consumers: fully digital and smart—Smart devices have gained remarkable popularity in the Chinese market in the past few years. Enterprises in the communications, media and technology sector need to not only be on top of market trends but also actively pursue innovation in the digital space.

  • Demanding digital consumers have created a switching economy—Digital consumers are switching between products and service providers with greater frequency, resulting in what Accenture describes as a “switching economy.” To capitalize on opportunities presented by this scenario, enterprises need to satisfy changing consumer needs in differentiated ways to regain customer loyalty.

  • Blue ocean market: low- and middle-end products—Small and medium-sized cities and low-income residents are playing an increasingly important role in driving digital consumption in China with the advent of more affordable high-functionality mobile phones. Thus, mobile phone manufacturers need to focus more on products that cost less and have greater functionality.

  • Multiscreen consumers–a battle for attention—Smart devices are revolutionizing the way people watch TV and switching between different platforms is becoming more common. The TV screen is expected to become the centerpiece of living room internet culture. It is also expected to become another important medium for media companies’ multiscreen marketing activities.

China’s digital market presents abundant opportunities. However, only those enterprises that can adapt to the new digital trends and commit to providing products and services which exceed the highest expectations of consumers can fully benefit from these opportunities.


Based on our in-depth digital consumer research and rich experience in China over the past two decades, Accenture has identified four recommendations for communications, media and technology enterprises aspiring to become high performers in today’s digital markets:

  • Obtain insights into urban digital consumers’ behaviors, preferences, habits and characteristics.

  • Use the insights to enhance consumers’ experiences. They should provide personalized, high-quality experiences, aiming to secure consumer loyalty.

  • Prioritize synchronizing digital technologies with their business development.

  • Seek cross-industry competition and cooperation opportunities based on digital technologies to extend and expand their value chains.