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China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report: An interview with China expert Ashley Galina Dudarenok

Picture of Justyna Dzikowska
Justyna Dzikowska

Head of Content at Divante. Justyna joined the team in 2019 and reshaped our marketing strategy. Her role is to plan, execute, and deliver to you the most exciting and up-to-date insights about eCommerce and new technologies. She’s leading the content creation processes on our blog, knowledge base, website, and major projects like the eCommerce Trends Report. With almost 10 years of marketing experience, Justyna is also broadening our network and building relations with world-class eCommerce experts to get you the broadest possible perspective on the digital world.

Care to share?

Ashley Galina Dudarenok is one of the most vital voices in eCommerce and marketing in China. She is the founder of Alarice and ChoZan and was named as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing in 2019 and an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator by the Holmes Report. Ashley is one of the leading industry voices who contributed to our upcoming eCommerce Trends Report 2021. Her team has also created their own massive 570+ page ‘China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report’ covering the most important developments in China’s digital space, including: 

  • The impacts of COVID-19
  • Top 9 Chinese consumer groups 
  • eCommerce platforms and shopping festivals
  • 9 social media platforms as well 
  • 8 key trends to watch out for in early 2021.

We invited Ashley to talk about her report and the state of eCommerce in China today.

China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report Interview

Background and contributors

Divante: Ashley, you have just published a 570+ pages mega-report on China eCommerce and Digital Marketing. Can you share with us the idea behind this project?

Ashley: COVID-19 has brought massive changes to the whole world in the first half of 2020. We see that many industries were seriously hit across the globe. The same goes for China. A lot has changed in the past 6 months and many trends have accelerated. I wanted to create a report that gives all the latest and the most actionable insights about the China market, modern Chinese consumers, eCommerce, and social media marketing. We’re very excited to launch this new China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report. My team at ChoZan and I have poured our hearts and souls into coming up with this extensive 570+ pages report. We have also interviewed over 50 experts from TV commentators and members of the in-house teams at China’s tech to agency owners, university professors, and renowned authors. We wanted a cross-section that made sure that the insights are exhaustive and represent the collective wisdom of the China watchers.

eCommerce in China

Divante: You mentioned the massive changes in China’s digital space. Can you perhaps elaborate on that a little?

Ashley: China was already very well-adapted in terms of digital developments before COVID-19. In fact, China’s digital economy grew by 15.6% in 2019 and was 12.7 times bigger in 2019 than it was in 2005. China’s digital transformation was accelerating. When the pandemic hit, the lockdowns and the trend of staying at home further propelled China’s digital scene. Consumers are using social media and eCommerce more actively than ever. The digital marketplace is becoming a lot busier and more competitive. Businesses that previously decided to not go digital were basically like sitting ducks, while businesses that already had a very healthy digital presence were able to benefit. Moving forward, it does not matter if you are an eCommerce business or a service provider, digital is the key! There is no better time than now for businesses to plan or review their digital strategies in China

Customer segmentation 

Divante: How should businesses start reviewing their digital strategies? Is there certain fundamental information they need to be aware of before they go ahead and revise their strategies in China? 

Ashley: Businesses should familiarize themselves with emerging consumer groups in China and gain a clear picture of their preferences, spending habits, consumption patterns, etc. Creating a strategy without a solid understanding of the key audience is a recipe for failure. The China eCOmmerce and Digital Marketing Report gives an extensive overview of 9 major consumer groups to which businesses need to pay more attention in early 2021 – Millennials, Gen Z, Silver-haired Generation, Middle-aged Men, Power Women, Super Moms and Dads, Pet Lovers, Lower-tier City Youth, and Happy Singles. One thing I would like to point out is that simply identifying these consumer groups is not enough. It’s also not enough to target the whole broad customer group as your audience. You want to be specific and include at least 3 characteristics to your target customers so you can build concrete consumer profiles. For instance, instead of defining your target audience as “Millennials”, you should try to add at least 3 specific characteristics to your target audience by defining them as “Millennials in tier 3 cities who enjoy working out”. Be aware that each big consumer group also contains multiple distinctive consumer segments

Effective content marketing

Divante: After properly defining all these consumer profiles, what are the next steps?

Ashley: Always create outstanding content! This is an oldie but a goodie. Businesses need to produce meaningful, relevant, and interactive content at all times, be it daily social media content or advertising copy. The content businesses publish should always be relevant to hot topics at the time and the overall big picture. Before COVID-19, China was already changing so fast. In the post-COVID-19 era, that rapid pace has been put on steroids. Content cannot only be great; it also needs to be on top of the ever-changing environment.

How to get the China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report

The China eCommerce and Digital Marketing Report is a packed and insightful read which we recommend to everyone interested in eCommerce, Digital Marketing, or the transformation of Asia markets. The report also goes into much detail on 4 eCommerce platforms – Alibaba’s Tmall, JD, Pinduoduo and Kuaishou; 9 social media platforms – WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, RED, Bilibili, Zhihu, Kuaishou, Weitao and Toutiao; and 3 most important online shopping festivals – Double 11, 618 and CNY. It also summarizes the 8 top trends brands to act on right now in order to succeed in China in 2021

Check out the full ChoZan Mega Report 2020 [China E-commerce + Marketing Q4 Outlook] to get the latest knowledge. And be sure to follow Ashley on LinkedIn for her amazing and always up-to-date content. 

Ashley Galina Dudarenok is a featured expert in our eCommerce Trends Report 2020, published Dec 2019.

Published November 20, 2020