Whether to invest in a mobile site is a tough decision for personal care brands in China. On one hand, the platform shows a lot of promise: 15% of mobile searches were shopping-related in 2012, and of those 9% were for personal care and beauty items. Mobile shopping surged 143% year-over-year in first-quarter 2013.
Developing the platform is also expensive, and many mobile transactions can be done through third party sites such as Tmall and WeChat. Tmall has advanced its mobile capabilities with features such as QR codes, which users can scan to bring up items on Tmall. 70% of brand shops on Tmall use Weitao for mobile marketing and customer relationship management.
Consumers have responded well to these efforts. On Singles’ Day, or November 11, 2012, mobile payments accounted for 32% of total sales on Taobao and Tmall, an 842% year-over-year increase. Consumers in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou placed 80,000 Single’s Day orders through WeChat in collaboration with e-commerce site Yixun.
As of now, most brands have opted for the less expensive route; only 17% of brands in our Digital IQ Index: Personal Care China report have a mobile-optimized site. The lack of well-run mobile sites has not visibly affected sales yet, but they could become essential if mobile commerce continues its explosive growth in China.