China will be the next frontier of growth for European brands, according to new research published today by The Trade Desk – with brands committing big spend to the market.
Over half (53%) of the senior brand marketers surveyed in the UK, France and Germany confirmed that China represents a significant growth opportunity, with an additional third (34%) stating that China represents the biggest growth opportunity for their business.
While less than 10% of sales currently come from China for a quarter of marketers (25%), the research suggests that these figures are set to increase significantly over the next five years, with 59% anticipating that sales will more than double, with 25% or more coming from the Chinese market within this timeframe.
And brands are putting their money where their mouth is. Over a quarter (27%) plan to invest over £250m on digital media advertising in the Chinese market this year alone – more than the total GDP of Portugal – with 47% planning to increase this investment by at least 15% in the next five years. Just under one in ten (8%) respondents expect an uplift of over 40%.
The research suggests that brands are relying primarily on e-commerce (ranked top by 76% of respondents) and social media (72%) to grow their customer base, making the most of the more than 400 million people in China’s growing middle class.
But despite these strong expectations of growth, one in five (22%) brands feel less than confident that their brand is maximising its digital media buying opportunities in the Chinese market. It’s therefore unsurprising that the role of partners is elevated, with three quarters (76%) likely or highly likely to move media investment dollars to a global partner who operates internationally, including China, and a further 83% thinking it’s important or highly important that their DSP works closely with major media players in the market.
Anna Forbes, UK General Manager at The Trade Desk, commented: “The Asia-Pacific region is set to be the largest advertising region in the world in just a few short years, and China will be a huge part of this. Marketers know that e-commerce and social are huge players in the Chinese digital market, and so are planning to pump investment into these channels. But there’s no doubt that China is a complex market that presents unique challenges for brands, and marketers need the reassurance that their spend is efficiently used. That’s why The Trade Desk has spent the past three years establishing infrastructure and building relationships in China, to enable marketers to activate campaigns with the same confidence and ease that they would in any other market’.