What you need to know

Chinese consumers are open to purchasing and using digital products. They may be attracted to multifunctional digital products with enhanced features. While consumers are increasingly dependent on their smartphones, smart TVs also see the potential to grow, in terms of both penetration and usage frequency. Smart TV is becoming an effective channel for marketers to reach consumers, especially those with higher income and living in tier one cities.

Facing the challenge from e-commerce, bricks-and-mortar stores may leverage the power of technology to attract visit. Fun-to-use in-store digital devices are especially attractive to families with children. Companies and brands can consider using the emerging VR and AR technology to enhance in-store experience.

Products/themes covered in this report

This report examines trends in consumer technology and online behaviour in China. This is the fourth report in the Digital Trends China series, building on Mintel’s Digital Trends – China, June 2013, Digital Trends – China, June 2014 and Digital Trends – China, July 2015 Reports.

Personal computers, mobile phones, televisions, cameras, gaming consoles and wearable digital products are the major types of consumer technology products covered by this report.

Personal computer (PC)

PCs are categorised into three formats: desktop, laptop, and tablet.

Desktops refer to computers intended for use at a single location, including tower unit computers, all-in-one PCs, and small form factor PCs (eg Mac Mini, Chromebox).

Regular netbooks, ultrabooks (ultra-portable), Chromebooks (a notebook based on Google Chrome OS), convertible laptops (eg with swivel display or sliding keyboard), and hybrid laptops (eg with detachable keyboard) are categorised as laptops.

Tablets refer to the new style of computers popularised by the arrival of Apple’s iPad, and describe computers in a slate or slab format, with touchscreens and no permanently attached physical keyboards.

Mobile phone

The mobile phone market in China covers 2G, 3G and 4G and other mobile phone handsets. Both non-smartphones – which covers basic mobile phones and feature phones – and smartphones are included.

A basic mobile phone is mainly capable of calling and sending text messages.

A feature phone is defined as a device capable of connecting to the 2G networks (but not usually 3G), and which may come with a colour screen, a music player or a camera, but which typically lacks the advanced web browsing ability of a smartphone as well as the ability to download more applications.

A smartphone is defined as any modern mobile phone capable of connecting to the internet, and capable of downloading applications from proprietary application stores.

Television (TV)

The definition covers standard definition TVs and several major technology developments, including High Definition Television (HDTV) and Smart TV.

HDTVs are the high standard of digital TVs, which use digital signals for data transmission.

Smart TVs refer to internet-enabled TV sets.


Point-and-shoot digital cameras (P&S), Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras (both digital and film), and video cameras are all included.

Gaming console

This report discusses video game consoles, which refers to a device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game, including PlayStation, X-Box and Wii.

Wearable digital products

A wearable digital product refers to devices incorporating electronic technologies or computers that can be worn by a consumer, such as an activity tracker, smart watch or a virtual reality headset.

Demographic classification

Household income

Tier one cities Tier two and three cities
High monthly household income RMB16,000 and above RMB14,000 and above
Mid monthly household income RMB10,000-15,999 RMB7,000-13,999
Low monthly household income RMB4,000-9,999 RMB4,000-6,999
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