WeChat is considered a ‘must have’ app for Chinese netizens. As at Q1 in 2017, there were 938 billion monthly active users on the app – more than 90% of whom live in China itself. While WeChat may not yet have caught on globally, digital marketers should not ignore the importance of this popular app in their China marketing campaigns.

It’s also vital to understand who uses WeChat, as well as how, why, and when. This helps to maximise your chances of hitting the right targets in your campaigns. Here are some useful facts and statistics on this.

Who uses WeChat?

  • More men (67.5%) than women (although this may reflect the fact that China has more men than women in its population!).
  • People with a stable income such as corporate workers account for more than 40% of users – generally considered to be those who have more purchasing power for shopping and enjoyment.  
  • 65% of monthly active users are of a younger demographic (born in the 1980s and 1990s).

How is WeChat used?

The most popular use is that of WeChat Moments. According to China Internet Watch (CIW) 61% use WeChat Moments every time they access the app, such as for following their friends’ latest updates, and 80% use it to interact with friends. Other WeChat uses include accessing trending news (50%), sharing useful information (50%), and getting information and help (49%). In addition, each day 100 million calls are made through the app and a typical WeChat user sends 74 messages!

In terms of practical activities, these include ordering taxis, booking trips and making appointments, splitting restaurant bills, making mobile payments, sending money (such as red packets and Bitcoin), paying utilities and other bills, making donations, or even having laundry picked up!

In terms of payments, WeChat Wallet is proving popular due to being quick and easy to use, and the fact that it may enable users to access discounts and specials. It can also be used in many overseas countries, allowing users to avoid credit card charges and fees.

How often do people use WeChat?

CIW statistics show that 50% use WeChat for more than 1.5 hours each day, and around 35% for more than four hours a day! Many users open the app as many as 30 times each day as they go about their tasks.

Emotional drivers for WeChat

WeChat is used not only in a practical sense but for emotional reasons.

Statistics show that 41% use the app to make new friends and 29% to get a ‘sense of belonging’. This may reflect China’s citizens’ need to connect in light of the country’s one-child policy.  

WeChat’s customers and marketers

Online shopping on WeChat vastly increased in popularity in 2016, doubling in size from the previous year to 31%.

Setting up an official account enables brands to communicate with target audiences who hang out on WeChat.

Timing may be important in this regard. For example, CIW says that 80% of official accounts publish posts on working days, and 40% post between 4pm and 7pm – a timeframe during which many workers will be looking at their smartphones on public transport.

What this means for marketers

Understanding Chinese customer behaviour and the importance of WeChat to internet users and consumers could help you get an edge in the world of China digital marketing. Although it is a social platform, it carries a different significance in China than Facebook (for example) does in Australia.

If you would like some help setting up a WeChat account for your business, feel free to get in touch with our bilingual China marketing team!

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