GroupM deep dives into digital lives of university students

20 December, 2011

GroupM Knowledge and CMI announce the results of a study into this significant segment

 — GroupM Knowledge and Campus Marketing Institute (CMI) released the results of a research on university students’ digital life today, to understand 90s’ students’ digital behavior and consumption habits.

Today, there are 2,493 universities and colleges in China with more than 29 million universities students, born after 1990. They are living in the fastest developing era of China with better living conditions than before. From 2012, the first group of 90s’ university students will graduate and step into the society. How would they influence the market as economic-independent consumers? This is still an unexplored area for marketing professionals.

Lucy Zhang, Futures Director, GroupM Knowledge, China commented, “The 90s’ generation lives and grow up in the digital era. Understanding their digital behavior will not only show brands information like consumption habits or brand preferences, but even give us a preview of digital trends. Their favorites today will be considered mainstream in the future.”

This research was conducted in eight tier 1 and tier 2 cities in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shenyang, Xi’an, and Zhengzhou), collecting data of 1,600 university students from 33 universities aged from 17-21. 50 face-to-face interviews form the qualitative section, bringing the total sample size to 1,650. The report has three parts, respectively paraphrasing university students’ lifestyle, values, media consumption and digital behavior.

According to the report, university students spend, on the average, over 20% of their monthly living allowance on online shopping. 86% students have Internet access on their mobile phones. The average monthly expenditure on mobile phone is RMB 64. Other findings include:

1. Highly dependent on the Internet

University students are living a “connected” life, meaning that they are constantly connected to the Internet anytime and anywhere. 75% of them have more than three year of Internet experience and spend 18% of their daily time online, while Chinese city residents only spend 13% average. Internet has become their life rather than a communicative tool. Senior students turn out to be more dependent on the Internet with more sophisticated usage of Internet tools. Chatting, Weibo and SNS are TOP 3 most popular online activities among university students.

2. Being the core target of mobile marketing, university students are a crucial target audience for its development.

While 79% and 40% university students use a notebook and desktop PC respectively, 86% of them access the Internet via their mobile phones, compared to a lower rate of 66% among Chinese netizens. Economic-independently after entering the society, they will be the core target audience of mobile marketing. Their preferences would therefore greatly influence mobile marketing’s content, format and interactive way.

3. Main force of E-commerce

52% university students love online shopping, which is much higher than the general rate of 20% among Chinese netizens. What is most impressive is that the average E-commerce expenditure reaches RMB 171, taking up over 20% of their monthly spending. “Cheaper price” “more choice” and “saving time” are Top 3 motivations of their online shopping. Top 3 categories are clothing and shoes, books, and digital devices. As part of their “connected” life, E-commerce is not only a purchase platform, but an adaptation of their material life to their digital life.

About GroupM China
GroupM is the global leading media investment management group. It serves as the parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare.

GroupM employs more than 1500 people in eight cities across China. With total media billings in excess of USD 4 billion (RECMA: 2010 Definitive), GroupM is China's top media communications group and the industry's biggest investor in syndicated and proprietary media research and optimization tool development.

About GroupM Knowledge
GroupM Knowledge is GroupM’s think tank and knowledge management arm in China. This unit is responsible for industry-wide thoughts leadership research, exploring issues affecting the media industry in China; working with syndicated research suppliers, and managing the GroupM’s proprietary tools, research and systems.
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Media contact
Diana Wang  
Ph: +86 21 23077703

About Campus Marketing Institute
Campus Marketing Institute (CMI) is an academic institute with the strength of youth research, supported by its big database of youths and students.
Founded in 2008, CMI continues to drive understanding on youth behavior through massive data mining, to furnish complete knowledge and solid insight into youths for campus marketing planning, executions and monitoring.
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About Fresh Media
Fresh Media is founded as the initiator of campus marketing in China in 2004, dedicating to “influencing the life and promoting the development of the youth in China”. Today, Fresh Media’s specialty has extended to campus media relations, brand communications, the channel exploration and HR service. With a consistent and stable cooperation with 1,827 senior holds over 15,000 activities a year, reaching more than 26,000,000 targets on campus.
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Media contact:
Lv Qian  
Ph: +86 10 85961205-810

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