Here's a bit to warm the hearts of the anti-Apple crowd: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has surpassed Apple as far as average engagement times in apps.
This is the first time that an Android-based handset has surpassed the engagement numbers of Apple products, and is another marker that Xiaomi is steadily challenging Apple as it moves towards international prominence.
This information is essential for international travel brands seeking to engage with the growing Chinese middle class on their mobiles. The engagement numbers are very similar to the way Apple has been able to deliver an experience to users that hooks them for longer.
Analytics provider Flurry has found that the brand has matched the "Apple Magic," with users spending 7% more time in apps when benchmarked against Apple. This is extremely significant, as an Android-based handset has never been able to outperform Apple, ever.
With Xiaomi handsets, users are engaging more with productivity and media/entertainment when compared to other handset users in China.
Another similarity to Apple is the way that the brand has developed a rabid and loyal following.
Unlike Apple, this brand has chosen to release limited batches of handsets, usually in groups of 10,000. One recent batch sold out in a quick 17 minutes. This has led to shortages and urgency as far as a coveted object. Users are also active and engaged with the brand, and are vociferous brand advocates.
Another area that Xiaomi outperforms Apple is in how many business users it has. Apple is generally tied to leisure, while Blackberry has traditionally been the handset-of-choice for business. Xiaomi walks that line between leisure and business, and offers a perfect blend for marketers seeking both demographics.
The handset is also overwhelmingly preferred by younger people, another demographic that marketers pursue. Especially with the growing middle class and its disposable income, this is a very important segment for marketers playing in China.
Travel marketers in APAC take note, because Xiaomi has succeeded where others have failed - to build a Chinese brand that is popular with consumers and can hold its own against international players. This brand is also expanding to tablets, which are fantastic engagement tools for travel.
As Flurry itself notes, this group is a growing powerhouse - and one that Apple might lose to the local underdog in the world's fastest growing economy.
This analysis is giving us a clear image of Xiaomi Chinese consumers. The data is pointing towards young business professionals, most likely college-educated. This is a fast growing segment in China and a main driver behind China’s new consumer-driven economy. This year alone, 7 million Chinese will graduate from college, up from 1.1 million in 2010. By 2020, China’s college educated talent pool will exceed 195 million people, more than the entire U.S labor force that year.
And each of those 195 million college-educated workers is going to be spending money on travel, most certainly domestically but also a growing amount of it spent abroad.
NB: Apple image courtesy Shutterstock.