Taiwan, considered as one of the four Asian Tigers, has sustained continuously high levels of economic growth since the 1960s. At present, the country is one of the most developed economies in the continent, ranking 17th in GDP per capita worldwide.
A vital market in regional and global value chains, Taiwan offers one of the most promising environments for investments in Asia. Additionally, the country is one of the driving forces of global trade and plays an essential role in the global economy: It is a crucial supplier of goods across industrial fields as well as a top player in the world’s information and communication technology industry.
A prosperous country with a population of around 23 million, Taiwan offers plenty of business opportunities. However, to achieve success, marketers need to understand the business realm in the country — particularly about Taiwanese consumers and how businesses can win their hearts and gain their trust.
The Taiwanese Consumer
Taiwan is a developed consumer market where consumers are up-to-date about global consumer trends. The country is an accessible and well-regulated hub that links developed Western markets to emerging Asian economies. With globalization, the Taiwanese gained access to information, products, and services that have helped mold their unique consumer identity. In order to understand more about the distinct consumer identity of the Taiwanese, here are some significant insights:
They are smart, tech-savvy consumers
Taiwanese consumers have raised their standards on products and services that they consume due to the influences of globalization. As such, they have started to become unresponsive to mere ads. Thus, businesses need to explore fresh and original ways of capturing the interest of their audience. Since Taiwan is a free country, marketers have the freedom to discover the most innovative methods of promoting a brand.
Another factor that has heavily influenced the consumer behavior of the Taiwanese is the high internet penetration rate. According to Statista, the country has the 4th highest internet penetration rate in Asia at 92.8%. Additionally, the Digital 2019 Report by Hootsuite and We Are Social indicates that 81% of Taiwan’s adult population use smartphones. However, only 67% and 29% use laptops and tablets, respectively. Thus, brands need to consider multiple digital channels in creating a marketing strategy. Online channels offer several opportunities in which businesses will be able to reach most of their target audience, and brands have the chance to become viral.
They pay attention to brand identity
Taiwan is well-known for its manufacturing industry, where companies were focused on sales rather than marketing. However, at present, Taiwanese consumers are conscious of a brand’s identity and reputation. Therefore, cultivating a good reputation will help a brand gain trust and convince customers that their products and services are the best choices.
They are vocal in providing feedback
Aside from becoming immune to ads, Taiwanese consumers also often share their opinions freely about any subject of interest, such as the products and services of a particular business. As such, companies need to continually improve the customer’s experience with their brand so that their feedback will remain positive. Furthermore, excellent customer experience can also cultivate trust between the business and its customers as well as a result of more repeat business.
In addition, Taiwanese people are proud of being Taiwanese, not Chinese. Therefore, utilizing an all-purpose inbound marketing strategy for the Asian region may prove to be ineffective. A brand’s approach in marketing can heavily influence the opinion of Taiwanese consumers. Marketers need to take care in their methods since Taiwanese are often vocal in their feedback which can have a crucial impact on a brand’s success.
Winning the Hearts of Taiwanese Consumers
Taiwanese consumers have a unique culture and perception that businesses need to consider when creating a marketing strategy. Here are some insights that can help in capturing the hearts and trust of Taiwanese consumers:
The Power of Social Media
Taiwanese consumers are digital shoppers and among the most connected in Asia. In fact, in 2017, Taiwan had an overall social media penetration rate of 80%. Among these social media users, 77% have Facebook accounts, while 75% use YouTube, and 71% are on Line.
Social media has become an essential tool for online marketing in Taiwan. As such, Facebook has the lion’s share in digital marketing, with 63.4% of online vendors preferring to use the platform in their marketing campaigns. Facebook has been the preferred platform for digital marketing because of its low cost for promotion and the ability to reach a wider audience. Additionally, online vendors also much rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, which spread quickly through social media platforms. Marketers can also include local Bulletin Board System (BBS) social networks such as ptt.cc in their marketing strategy for a more personalized approach.
Businesses should implement a social media strategy that values quality over quantity to achieve success. As such, fewer ads and more high-quality content can help brands go a long way in Taiwan.
Focus on high-quality content and user experience
Taiwanese consumers have become immune and even annoyed, with the numerous ads that fill online display space. Thus, brands wishing to catch their audience’s attention need to rethink their marketing strategy and shift from ads to offering high-quality content that brings value to consumers. With high-quality content, consumers can perceive a brand as something that is of importance and worth their time and money.
In addition, businesses also need to ensure that the user interface of their websites is not compromised, particularly in considering cutting costs. Taiwanese internet users often have an adverse reaction in dealing with poorly organized sites that take forever to load. Users usually return to the search results page and open another link to a similar website. Thus, providing an excellent user experience is crucial for Taiwanese web users to stay on a website and visit it once more in the future.
Consider the language barriers
Taiwan has a distinct language from China. Thus, utilizing the same expressions and idioms for marketing in both countries might lead to failure in the Taiwanese market. Additionally, the language barrier may result in cultural misunderstandings, particularly in creating English-only messages. Younger generations may probably understand it, but it can potentially fail to reach the target audience. As such, communicating with Taiwanese or Taiwanese-English would be more effective.
In using English-based promotional materials, brands should not make their Taiwanese audience struggle in understanding the meaning of their message. Occasionally using English words and idioms to catch the attention of Taiwanese consumers is acceptable. However, it is much safer to go with a message that is simple, succinct, and easy to understand.
In the past, the primary advantage of e-commerce in Taiwan was to provide better access to foreign products that are unavailable in the local traditional retail market. However, within the recent several years, Taiwanese e-commerce platforms users have grown to value convenience over accessibility. In fact, convenience and detailed product information are the vital aspects that draw Taiwan consumers to online channels. Roughly three out of four (77%) Taiwanese respondents indicate that “Shopping online is convenient.” In addition, nearly seven out of ten (69%) respondents claimed that they “like to read online reviews prior to purchasing a product,” and two out of three would prefer to conduct research about a product online before making a purchase decision.
Over recent years, Taiwan’s e-commerce has experienced rapid growth. With a five-year average growth rate of 10-20%, the size of the country’s e-commerce market has reached US$42.69 billion in 2017. The sales in Taiwan’s online retail platforms has been anticipated to eventually surpass that of physical retail stores, accounting for over half of the country’s multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Moreover, Taiwan has one of the highest e-commerce penetration rates across the globe, which means that the country has a massive market of consumers who are aware of international trends. The country’s e-commerce market continues to mature alongside the shift of consumption trends amongst online shoppers.
Taiwan’s top three most purchased product categories in e-commerce are media products, apparel and footwear, and consumer electronics. However, online purchases of basic household necessities have grown, as well as the demand for convenient delivery. The shift of e-commerce consumer trends has resulted in an emergence of new possibilities to meet the rising demand.
In a nutshell, the Taiwanese market opens the door to numerous opportunities for companies and brands. The country has a prosperous local market and plays a vital role in the global economy. Therefore, businesses can benefit a lot in winning over the hearts and gaining the trust of the country’s consumers. Nevertheless, the Taiwanese have their own unique culture and behavior, much like any other nationality.
Marketers need to consider the profile of Taiwanese consumers: they are smart and tech-savvy, they pay attention to brand identity and reputation, and they are vocal in providing feedback. Additionally, marketers should also recognize that the Taiwanese are often influenced by the power of social media, high-quality content and user experience, the languages used in promotions, as well as the online distribution channels used. Being mindful of these factors result in a brand’s success in the market.
With Taiwan’s flourishing economy, entering its market provides an abundance of opportunities. The country’s cultural and behavioral differences may be overwhelming, nevertheless adapting the Taiwanese mindset and successfully tapping into the market has enormous payoffs. To learn more about how to gain the trust and win the hearts of Taiwanese consumers, contact us at Info Cubic Japan today.