In the Hutong
Watching “The Man Who Would Be King”
Thomas Crampton points us to a Roland Berger report suggesting that trendiness is a critical factor for Chinese consumers in the purchase of a mobile phone, and in the speed in which they purchase new phones. I am certain Berger is not hawking such insights to mobile device manufacturers, because none would pay to learn what they have known for a long time, at least since the Motorola RAZR demonstrated that the mobile phone was as much fashion accessory as telecommunications hardware.
What is of value is figuring out exactly what “trendiness” means, to whom it means that, and being able to anticipate that trendiness six to eighteen months in advance. China no longer has a single mobile phone market, it has several, and in each of those markets trendiness means different things. A techie wants the latest version of Android. A fashionista might want something with some bling. Others want a few more features, an iPhone, or maybe just a simple handset with a cool color.
These groups are constantly changing, realigning, and splitting. What they want in a device changes as quickly as twice in a normal ownership cycle. Identifying those groups, and having a rough idea of what they will want a few months down the line, and why is the insight mobile device makers need.