In China, Advertising Spend Follows Consumers to Digital - eMarketer
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In China, Advertising Spend Follows Consumers to Digital

Country’s top consumer-focused advertisers moving more dollars online

Following trends witnessed in markets around the world, a growing share of Chinese ad outlays are shifting away from traditional media like TV and into digital. The move follows a growing realization among advertisers of the increasingly digital media habits of consumers in the country.

Average Daily Time Spent Online vs. Watching TV Among Consumers in China, 2010 & 2015 (minutes)

Based on data from H1 2016 from Kantar CTR Media Research, TV time dropped among consumers in China at the same time their internet usage grew. According to Kantar’s investigation of average daily time spent online vs. watching TV in 2010 and 2015, consumers’ TV time decreased by 24 minutes over the five-year period, while their daily internet time increased by almost an hour.

This consumer shift has been recognized by advertisers operating in China’s “pillar” consumer product categories like beverages, foodstuffs and cosmetics, which in recent months have pulled back ad spending on traditional media. As noted by Kantar, these three pillar industries reduced their traditional media ad spending in H1 2016 by 8% or more compared to the same period in 2015.

Traditional* Media Ad Spending Growth in China, by Industry, H1 2015 & H1 2016 (% change vs. same period of prior year)

Although questions about the economic health of China’s consumer sector may be playing into the downturn in traditional ad spending, this shift in consumer media habits is likely a key factor.

eMarketer’s own forecast of total media ad spending in China between 2014 and 2020 tracks a similar trajectory for advertisers’ TV spending, with investment in the medium expected to decrease to $18.73 billion in 2018 from $18.92 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, digital ad spending in China is expected to grow from $40.42 billion to $62.14 billion during the same period.

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