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Insight: Rakuten Advertising Report highlights Chinese shoppers will increase holiday spend in second half of 2020

SINGAPORE — According to new research from Rakuten Advertising, the global provider of advertising technology and consumer insights, 87% of consumers will still be shopping for major holidays such as Christmas or Lunar New Year despite over 40% of global peak season shoppers citing a decrease in household income due to COVID-19.

The research, which surveyed over 8.500 consumers across the globe, demonstrates a clear lack of intent to curb spending during peak shopping periods, presenting an opportunity for brands and retailers to drive sales in the second half of the year after a challenging start to 2020.


With concerns over health remaining a priority, savvy Asian shoppers have demonstrated a preference shift to purchasing more online, with many consumers shopping via e-commerce for the first time. Approximately 79% of Chinese consumers and 76% of Korean consumers have shopped more online since the outbreak of COVID-19. With the global average at 64%, Asia is paving the way for a change of behaviour that looks set to stick far into the second half of 2020 and presents huge opportunities for brands to engage with “new-to-online” consumers.

Chinese shoppers are looking to spend big, with 21% looking to increase their spend on people in their immediate family. 35% of Chinese shoppers will spend more than 40% of their monthly household income this shopping season, compared to only 7% of global consumers. The research shows Taobao is the preferred shopping platform (77%) for Chinese shoppers, overtaking the messaging app powerhouse WeChat (65%).

Facebook dominates globally (45%) as the top social media platform for holiday shopping and YouTube ranks second (38%). The research demonstrates higher than average preference for Facebook in Hong Kong (62%) and Singapore (57%). However, the second most popular platform is Hong Kong and Singapore is WhatsApp, at 57% and 55% respectively.

As consumers across Asia move to purchase more on their mobile, implementing effective mobile strategies during peak shopping periods is more important than ever.

Stuart McLennan, Senior Vice President, APAC at Rakuten Advertising comments, “With consumers spending more time in front of small screens, brands have the opportunity to utilise mobile in-app tracking and further drive mobile sales this peak shopping season. Additionally, brands can gain further insights into their consumers’ shopping behaviour as in-app tracking enables advertisers to accurately track conversions.” McLennan continues, “In a time where personalisation is more relevant than ever, it’s important for brands to use these insights to better optimise the consumer experience and enhance the end-to-end shopping journey for their mobile app customers.”

Having said this, there is no doubt that consumers are tightening their purse strings, and sales and discounts will be the most influential factor driving holiday purchases globally.

This year, more than half of consumers in Singapore (53%), China (53%), Hong Kong (54%) and South Korea (52%), are planning to change the way they shop to maximise value. For brands, rewarding customers for spending through cashback programmes will become an invaluable strategy for success this peak shopping season.

McLennan adds, “It’s a win-win situation when brands work with affiliate publishers that reward consumers for spending. Brands can use AI tools to serve personalised offers to each consumer, backed by data from past shopping behaviour, to further enhance the customer shopping experience and encourage repeat purchase.”

He continues, “Publishers now have the ability to connect users from online to offline. For customers who prefer to shop at physical stores, brands can partner with these publishers and connect to their customers through online-to-offline (O2O) experiences. This has been made possible through strategies such as card-linked offers which allows publishers to push discounts and offers both online and in-store, ultimately creating a seamless shopping journey.”

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