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Chinese consumers are increasingly using WeChat to buy online

As mobile commerce continues to grow in China, Chinese consumers are increasingly using WeChat to make “impulse” purchases, according to McKinsey’s recently released iConsumer China 2016 survey.

The survey finds that the percentage of WeChat users making purchases on the platform has more than doubled in the past year, rising from 15 percent in 2015 to 31 percent in 2016. Their top channel for purchase on the app is through JD.com, which takes up 32 percent of purchases, while moments and groups, links to other apps, and public accounts take up 22 to 23 percent each.

Luxury brands should note that the survey finds that “impulse-driven” categories including apparel and personal care are the most popular categories on WeChat. Apparel dominates WeChat shopping with 60 percent of users purchasing clothes over the app. In addition, 32 percent of WeChat users’ online apparel shopping is now through the platform.

When pursuing a digital strategy to reach these shoppers, McKinsey recommends a mobile-first strategy that doesn’t neglect PCs. Although the survey finds that mobile devices are “overwhelmingly” used by Chinese consumers to access the internet, it says that users who go online through multiple devices—including smartphones, tablets, and computers—are much more avid online shoppers, spending 17 percent more on e-commerce. In addition, these users shop online in 29 percent more categories, while interacting with businesses through social networks 14 percent more often than one-device users.

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