On a Four Month Roll

Service Sector-Feb-18


Since October of last year this service sector index has seen an 8.1% increase in its outlook for the future. That sits in contrast to the up and down pattern of the months prior. The rise of the non-manufacturing sector is a sign of China’s ever-maturing economy especially since a significant portion of the manufacturing sector is still State owned. And these data are consistent with the current positive outlook for the world economy.  Source: Markit Economics

Contrasting Attitudes


A recent study of UK consumers suggests they are of two minds regarding personal data privacy. The data suggests consumers are largely content with the amount of personal data they are sharing and they believe it is a requirement of a smooth running modern economy. Twenty-five percent are relatively unconcerned about their data privacy while most view their personal data as an asset to be traded for benefits of some sort.

The level of contentment and lack of concern is even more pronounced as demographics scale younger. And for what it’s worth, 88% in this survey believe that transparency is key to further data sharing.

Notably, the comfort level with data sharing reflected in this survey comes in a world where data hacking is a recurrent event, where stories of stolen personal data for sale on the dark web are real…a puzzle. Source: Lovelymobile.news

January Mobile Subscriptions up 50%

Carrier Data - Jan2018

With the addition of almost 12 million new subscriptions in January, the total mobile subscription base in China can now be rounded to 1.17 billion. Though we see this number range every month, it is still astonishing. January’s increase was 50% above the 7.6 million monthly average for the prior year. It is unlikely that this level of increase can continue going forward.  Sources: China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom

What Can $800 Million Buy?


For Alibaba, it can buy a seat at the table with the biggest players in the multinational space like Coca Cola and Samsung while for the Olympics, it gets a sponsor through the 2028 Games and it’s first sponsor for the 2022 Games in Beijing.

Alibaba’s interest is its newish cloud business, which it sees as a multinational enterprise that competes with the likes of IBM and Amazon.

Rick Burton, a former U.S. Olympic Committee chief marketing officer notes, “It’s an insightful deal by (Alibaba founder) Jack Ma, in the sense that it makes Alibaba instantly as credible as a company like Coca Cola, Visa, or McDonald’s [while] for companies in the U.S. like Amazon or Google or Facebook, it’s symbolically launched Alibaba as an international player to be reckoned with.”  Source: Bloomberg

Sixty-Six Percent Growth Seen For Digital Advertising by 2022

Digital Ad Projections - Statistica

This table has a load of numbers, but there are three essential facts to be drawn out: Statistica projects digital advertising to grow steady through 2022 and the relative position of the breakouts will remain the same. Less obvious is that banner ads will see the slowest growth at around 36%, which in any other circumstance would be strong. But next to search and social media in the seventieth percentile range and video, which is projected to grow more than 90% by 2022, banner looks weak.  Source: Statistica

Chinese Consumer Trends to Watch in 2018

Chinese Consumer Profile 2018

A Mintel Research survey of Chinese consumers ages 20-49 reveals the unique way their preferences are shaped by the social/political environment in which they have grown up as compared to that of their parents.

Opt-In: Consumers between the ages of 20-49 tend to be willing to opt-in to big data collection of behaviors via their many connected devises. Their belief is that machine learning of their preferences will yield better life experiences

Playful Preference:  Sixty-three percent of Chinese 20-24-year-olds say they play online games to relieve stress. These new consumers prefer a less rigid, more flexible approach to the world than their predecessors.

Individuality:  At the young end of the age range, there is more of a desire to express individuality in behaviors and in lifestyle. “Forty-one percent of teens…say they would like to live in an unconventional way.” These data imply a rebellion against the rigid ways of Chinese life and educational system that existed in the near past.

Environmental Concerns:  Mintel research reveals that 58% of Chinese adults ages 20-49 are willing to pay up for “ethical brands,” that is, products that are environmentally conscious and those that will benefit their health.

Mobile is Ubiquitous: As a measure of how thoroughly internalized and how quickly mobile technology is transforming Chinese culture, Mintel’s data shows “87% of Chinese consumers in tier 1-3 cities used mobile payments in 2017, up from 69% in 2016.”  The smartphone is the central devise of Chinese life for the core consuming demographic.

These trends all have marketing implementations as we approach the Chinese market.  Source: Branding in Asia

Programmatic Tech To Grow Through 2025

Prog Ad Growth Projection


Data from Persistence Market Research projects the adoption of programmatic technology moving into a more mature stage going forward. The compound average growth rate (CAGR) during the liftoff phase was 36% a year between 2012 and 2016. The projected average growth rate for the eight years ending in 2025 will be under 30% a year.  The slowdown in growth is to be expected as programmatic advertising becomes more universal. The study also notes that there is a shortfall in the number of skilled talent in the industry, those who fully grasp the nuances and implications of programmatic.   Source: Persistence Market Research

All Hail the Chinese Consumer’s Never Ending Desire for Stuff

Retail Sales Growth - Dec-17

Retail sales data is finally in for December 2017 and it comes in at the low end of the range for the last eleven months. Still, it grows as it has ever since June 2014 – the earliest month for which we have records. This speaks to the dependability of the Chinese consumer and their ongoing desire to have stuff as well as the market into which we are selling.  Source: www. Tradingeconomics.com; National Bureau of Statistics of China

Manufacturer Data Supports Consumer Behavior

Purchasing Mang Index Jan2018


It is getting boring. All the data emerging from China over the last several months have been steady on the positive side. The Manufacturing Index (PMI) is yet another of those data points that suggest a positive future. This survey of more than 400 manufacturers is not directly reflective of consumers. Still, it’s a positive slant implying that people aren’t losing jobs and wages will remain steady or increase, and that does have an impact on consumer sentiment, which in this case, encourages buying.  Source: Markit Economics

There May Be More To It

Benefits of AI

According to a survey of senior executives from more than 900 worldwide companies that already implement some level of artificial intelligence technology, there are three key benefits they expect to gain from their investment. They are (1) better data that (2) will yield better decisions and (3) more creativity.

We are sure these gains are probable, but we believe they miss the broad role AI can play in marketing. First, advanced slicing and dicing of audience data will find ever more demographic layers. Second, is the development of content for publishers. Content works for publishers in two ways. There is content for editorial reasons, which it equals money for publishers. And there is content for marketing purposes.  Marketing may ultimately be the most direct and practical benefit of the use of artificial intelligence for publishers.   Source: eMarketer; in-house analysis