With more than 1.1 billion accounts on WeChat, the Chinese social networking app rivals Western platforms including Facebook and Whatsapp to be the biggest social media platform in the world.
As WeChat develops and diversifies, so do the ways its users interact with the platform. Tencent’s September 2015 white paper WeChat has revealed the following insights into the platform’s users and how they engage with WeChat to communicate, shop, browse, and enjoy entertainment.
Penetration is almost at maximum in Tier 1 cities
WeChat penetration rates vary widely between city tiers. WeChat use is almost universal in China’s metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with penetration rates reaching 93 per cent in first-tier cities. The WeChat penetration rate in second-tier cities is also high at 69 per cent but this drops down to 28 per cent in fifth tier cities.
WeChat is gaining popularity in Australia
Internationally, the US enjoys the most WeChat communication with mainland China. Japan, South Korea and Australia are other global hotspots for WeChat communication with China.
Peak time for use
Although more than 55 per cent of users open WeChat more than 10 times a day, evenings are the most popular time to use the app, with 10:00pm the peak time of activity. Other popular usage times include 7:00am when users wake, 7:45am during the morning commute, 12:00pm during lunch, 6:00pm while shopping for dinner ingredients after work, and at 8:00pm while watching television.
Digital ‘red envelope’ gifts are gaining popularity
WeChat’s digital ‘red envelope’ money gifts are becoming more popular with 100 million WeChat users sending digital red packets to loved ones during the 2015 Moon Festival. The Qixi Festival (similar to Valentine’s Day) and New Year’s Eve respectively, were the next most popular days for gifting red envelopes.
The red envelope gifts range from sums of 1 RMB (AUD 0.22) to 200 RMB (AUD 44.20). The recipient can transfer the amount to their bank card or spend it on WeChat’s other functions including ordering taxis, movie tickets, games, and other purchases.
Males shop more on WeChat
Men consume 1.3 times more than women on WeChat. This partly reflects China’s internet population, of which 55 per cent of web users are male.
Despite men spending more on WeChat, women account for 66 per cent of all Chinese online shoppers searching for Australian products on e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.
Generation Y make up a large proportion of users
Generation Y makes up the majority of users, with 60% of WeChat users aged 15 to 29. On average, these users have 128 WeChat friends.
Generation Y WeChat users like to shop at 10:00 am and 10:00 pm, with their most popular purchases in September including chargers for electronic devices, Autumnal clothing and selfie sticks.
WeChat’s latest white paper reveals valuable details about their users and communication habits. Brands can utilise this data to tailor their WeChat strategy to best suit their intended audience.