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Smart Speakers: A Study in Chinese Consumer Preferences

We live in a globalized world. Thanks to social media and increased cross-border sales, shopping trends are rarely isolated to just one country. That being said, Chinese consumer preferences are just different. You can’t simply assume what sells here will sell there.

The most popular Chinese consumer products from recent years are quite distinct from what’s flying off the shelves in the US. and Canada. A great example? Smart speakers.

Catering to Unique Chinese Consumer Preferences

China is not buying smart speakers.The supply of smart speakers is far outstripping demand, according to The China Internet Report 2018.

One out of every six people in the United States have a smart speaker. The most popular are Google Home and Amazon Echo. In 2017, U.S. consumers bought a whopping 25 million of them. In China, which has a population four times greater than the US, the number is just 350,000.

This is curious considering the fact that Chinese consumers have traditionally flocked to new technology and adopted it en masse, and considering the fact that the country has more internet users (772 million) than the US has people (331 million).

What’s the story?

One theory, from Bloomberg, is that voice recognition technology isn’t yet as mature or advanced in Chinese as it is in English. Consumers don’t want to shell out their money if the speaker will rarely understand their commands.

Another factor is the fragmentation of the internet service provider market. With so many providers and so many different companies (100 or more) creating smart speakers, there’s a real problem with compatibility and connectivity. Using one internet service provider, the smart speaker may work great. Using another service it may not work at all.

These are the kinds of nuances retailers here in the US must understand to successful sell to China. Once your China strategy is figured out, Planet Payment can help your company streamline the payment process.

Open Your Door to China with Planet Payment

As the world’s premiere UnionPay provider, Planet Payment is trusted by United Airlines and the world’s top brands to open the door to Chinese consumers. Our SecurePlus solution for credit and debit cards makes it easy and cost-effective for merchants to accept UnionPay, the payment choice of China, with no redirects.

Contact us today to learn more.

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