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Market Watch


Shrugging Off the Pandemic – Target Sees Profits Rise 80%

1. Big box retailer Target has been called the retail sector’s biggest winner of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its profits rose 80.3% and sales rose 24.3% in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier. The quarterly sales growth was the highest in the company’s history, and growth was seen in both the e-commerce and physical store segments.

2. Target added 10 million new digital customers in the first half of the year, helped by its deployment in recent years of more efficient fulfillment offerings, including curbside pickup and same-day delivery services.

3. At a time when Zara and other fashion chains are closing stores, Target’s apparel sales have bucked the trend, posting double-digit gains because of its popular own brands and broad distribution of outlets.

Photo/Target

Source: Business Weekly
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Messaging between Instagram and Facebook Made More Convenient

Rumors previously emerged that Facebook was planning to integrate FB Messenger chat rooms and Instagram instant messaging, and they were apparently true. According to the Verge, overseas Instagram users recently noticed an update screen saying “There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram,” with one of the highlights being “Chat with friends who use Facebook.”

The Verge’s editors said that once you update and then open Instagram and click on “Chat with friends who use Facebook,” the regular “Direct Message” icon on the top right of the screen will be replaced by the Facebook Messenger logo. Users can then scroll through Instagram and Facebook Messenger messages, with Instagram messages shown in purple and Facebook Messenger ones in blue.

Photo/The Verge

Sources: Liberty Times, The Verge
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NCC : iQiyi not to Be Blocked, Can Be Used through Cross-border Subscriptions

Photo/iQiyi

The Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced that no Taiwanese entity will be allowed to represent or distribute China-based OTT services in Taiwan starting on Sept. 3. In effect the move will prevent popular streaming services iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV from having Taiwan agents. National Communications Commission (NCC) Vice Chairperson Wong Po-tsung said that after the ban takes effect, iQiyi members can still be cross-border consumers. He said the services will not be banned or blocked, and users will not be forced to get around a firewall.

Source: United Daily News
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App Annie Report Shows Importance of Mobile Ads during the Pandemic

App analytics expert App Annie’s latest report on mobile behavior has found that consumers spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile phones in the first half of 2020, substantially higher than in 2019 H1. A main reason is that COVID-19 “has propelled mobile usage forward,” whether for games, shopping, making payments, or videoconferencing. “Mobile has taken center stage in consumers’ lives,” the report said, and mobile’s unparalleled reach and engagement is still driving strong growth in mobile advertising, with mobile ad placements up 70% during the pandemic.

Photo/App Annie

Source: Tech News
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Apple Tops Taiwan Smartphone Sales List, but HTC Back in the Fold

The iPhone 11 remained the top-selling smartphone in Taiwan in July, according to a list of Taiwan’s best sellers compiled by ePrice, maintaining the top spot it has held since hitting the market in September 2019. The iPhone SE 128 GB, which had the second highest market share in June, slipped to fifth in July, but Apple still had four of the six best-selling models. Overall, Apple phones had a 32.7% market share by volume and 61.4% share by sales value, ahead of Samsung’s 30.3% share by volume and 20.3% share by value. The only Taiwanese smartphone model to crack the top 20 was HTC’s Desire 20 Pro. HTC had not had a model appear in the top 20 in a long time.

The top-selling smartphones in Taiwan in July
Photo/The Verge

Source: Liberty Times
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Diversifying Payment Systems – Scanning a QR Code to Pay Bus Fare

As part of its plan to broaden smart public transportation services, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is working on increasing fare payment options for passengers. The ministry said it has set a standard for virtual ticketing and is currently establishing equipment standards, which it hopes to complete by the end of August. Once the standard is announced, vendors can produce related devices. There are also plans to team up with the Kaohsiung city government to test QR Codes as a payment method for bus fare.

Liu Chien-pang, the section chief of the ministry’s Science and Technology Advisors Office, said that in promoting the “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) concept, the ministry has found that people want a convenient, fully digitized experience. Travelers who want to take public transportation between Taipei and Taichung, for example, might check Google Maps for different routes, then make a reservation and buy the ticket. Thus, the ministry wants to consolidate public transportation services on one platform that would include routes, real-time bus locations, and ticketing services.

Photo/Commercial Times

Source: Commercial Times
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How Taiwan’s Consumer Market Will Change in the Post-COVID Era

Photo/Unsplash

The latest Eastern Online COVID-19 consumer survey looked at how the outbreak will affect consumer markets and consumer behavior in the future. Here are some of its insights:

Market still conservative, but consumers more willing to venture out

Consumers remain concerned about their future income, but those worries are gradually easing. Their attitude toward short-term consumption and spending is trending in a more optimistic direction.

Entertainment/investing/learning at home gaining traction

  • The “home” is becoming the new center for consumer entertainment, meaning there is considerable room for growth for family game consoles, TVs/projectors and stereos.
  • Investing and learning are going more online, creating highly stable demand for home broadband, wifi hotspot devices, and streaming content.
  • 5G could drive a new home entertainment model; AR/VR equipment development worth watching

Hoping for more at home in 3 areas: maintaining a clean living environment/keeping stocks of daily commodities/cooking at home

For related products and services, vendors must have a plan to address potential pandemic threats, for example focusing on home cleaning products that kill germs, delivered ingredient kits that offer more variety and consumer choice, and services offering directions on how to cook

Feeling pressure: earning less/feeling bored/getting heavier/having to prepare three meals a day

The pressures of daily life by having to stay at home have created new opportunities and lifestyle models, involving “slashies,” excitement & interaction, physical fitness, and dietary changes.

Changing lifestyle demands: luxury goods/department stores less important, reflecting shift in places where leisure spending occurs

Spending more time at home has led to a shift in consumer demand; consumers more interested in seeking self-satisfaction at home rather than buying luxury goods to make an impression on others

Still a strong desire for retail spaces that take infectious disease prevention seriously

It will still be important for retail/distribution operators to take epidemic prevention steps; consumers looking for spaces that are not crowded and that take measures to keep their premises clean and sanitary

Sources: Eastern Online
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Tourism Industry Update


Tourism Outbound Departure Statistics, January-July 2020

Chart/Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications
  1. Taiwanese went abroad 2,191,782 times in the first seven months of 2020, down 78.50% from the same period of 2019. The drop-off has been most evident in the past four months as global COVID-19 restrictions kicked in, including in July when only 28,106 people traveled abroad, down 98.22 percent from the 1,581,016 who went abroad in July 2019.
  2. The top destination for outbound travelers from January to July 2020 was Japan, mainly because of its popularity as a destination in the first quarter of 2020 before cross-border travel ground to a halt, followed by China, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand. Travel to all six destinations was down from a year earlier, falling by as much as 86.54% to Hong Kong.

Source: Tourism Bureau Monthly Statistics 


DGBAS Latest Economic Indicators for July 2020

Chart/Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS)

1.   Taiwan’s economy grew 0.78% in the first half of 2020

2.   GDP growth (y-o-y) in the third and fourth quarters is forecast at 2.01% and 2.56%, respectively, which combined with growth in the first half would yield 1.56% growth for 2020 as a whole. That is 0.11 percentage points lower than the 1.67% growth forecast for the full year in May 2020. 2020 per capita GDP forecast at US$27,371 and the CPI is expected to fall 0.19% for the year.

3.   For 2021, the DGBAS forecast economic growth of 3.92%, per capita GDP of US$28,758 and a 1.12% rise in the CPI.

Charts: DGBAS

1. Average regular wage for workers in the industrial and service sectors was NT$42,352 in June, up 1.41% from a year earlier.

2. Unemployment rate: The jobless rate in July was 4.00%, up 0.04 percentage points from the previous month

Source: DGBAS Latest Indicators
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Big Demand for ‘Flights to Nowhere’ but Airlines only Get Limited Revenue Bump

Capitalizing on pent-up demand for air travel, Taiwanese international carriers are offering flights that take passengers for a spin in the air with special onboard services before landing back at the same airport. Tickets for these “flights to nowhere” were quickly sold out, but experts caution that these promotions will do little for airlines’ bottom lines and should only be seen as “small feasts” amid the industry’s dark clouds.

Photo/China Airlines

Source: Business Today
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Xpark Arrives, but Could Face Strong Regional Competition for Aquarium Lovers

Aquariums are popular with people of all ages, and a new one has come to Taiwan. Japan’s Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise opened its first overseas branch in Taoyuan on Aug. 7 as part of a huge recreational complex in a highly accessible area. Its arrival has put pressure on Taiwan’s public aquariums. Some are investing large sums to remodel their facilities to take on the glitzy newcomer while others are looking for partnerships. One travel expert believed Xpark’s biggest challenge may be whether aquariums in Okinawa and Tokyo attract visitors away from Xpark after its novelty wears off and cross-border travel reopens.

Photo: 7to.com.tw

Source: CommonWealth Magazine
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Major Hotel Groups Roll Out Luxury River Cruise + Hotel Stay Package

Three major domestic hotel groups – L’Hotel de Chine Group, Caesar Park Hotels & Resorts, and the Hotel Royal Group – are again teaming up on a travel promotion to boost business at their properties. The three issued joint accommodation vouchers to their staffers in March, and now they will offer a luxury river cruise + hotel stay package in the Taipei area in October and November. The packages, targeted at people seeking a new city travel experience, are centered around a leisurely night cruise on the Danshui River that includes a gourmet dining experience.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar Taiwan
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Taipei on Top in ‘Revenge Tourism’ Online Buzz Rankings

“Revenge tourism” has been evident around Taiwan in the last three months as Taiwanese unable to travel abroad during the COVID-19 outbreak have flooded local attractions. During this period, Taipei has been the most talked about destination online, according to a ranking based on big data analysis by the University of Kaohsiung’s Social Network Innovation Center and the Taiwanese Association for Social Networks. The next highest-ranked among the Top 10 domestic city and county destinations were New Taipei and Yilan County. The attraction in Kaohsiung that drew the most buzz was the E-DA Theme Park.

Source: Newtalk
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Domestic Tourism Challenge: Satisfying Travelers Used to Vacationing Overseas

Photo/Pexels

As fears over the COVID-19 outbreak have eased, Taiwanese used to traveling overseas every year are flocking to popular destinations at home. To many Taiwanese, vacationing overseas is a “rite” as much as a form of leisure, an opportunity to get on a plane with friends or family and leave their familiar surroundings to relax and see the world. To attract these customers to destinations within Taiwan and offer experiences that have them wanting to return, local travel operators must recreate this sense of “rite” at home with experiences that give them the sensation of getting away, challenge their senses, offer unique local insight, and create unique memories.

Source: Manager Today
Writer: Sung Shih-hsiang (Associate professor, National Sun Yat-sen University’s Program in Interdisciplinary Studies)
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Hotel Surviving COVID-19 Downturn by Creating Cruise-like Atmosphere

The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt heavy blows to the hospitality and travel sectors, forcing even the renowned Tayih Landis Hotel Tainan to shut down permanently. Yet some operators have bucked the trend, including Silks Place Tainan. It broke even in May and turned a profit in June using a novel strategy that has been noticed by parent company Silks Hotel Group. How has it done it? By catering to local culture in its designs and offerings and creating a cruise-like atmosphere with around-the-clock dining, a movie screening at night, and plenty of activities to keep children and their families occupied.

Photo/Regent Hotel Taipei

Source: Manager Today
Writer: Ou Su-hua (Associate professor, Soochow University’s Department of Business Administration)
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Thailand, Greece, Portugal Hit Hard as Global Tourism Industry Battered by Pandemic

COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, forcing many countries to shut their doors to contain the pandemic. That has dealt a huge setback to the tourism industry and to countries economically dependent on tourism. A recent International Monetary Fund report noted that international tourism arrivals were about 50 percent lower than over the same period in 2019, while hotel reservations were down 70% and international flights were down 80% in April. Thailand could be the hardest hit, with losses in tourism proceeds exceeding 6% of GDP on its current account balance, with Greece and Portugal close behind.

Sources: Commercial Times
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Global Aviation Demand to Take Until 2024 to Recover: IATA

The COVID-19 has shown few signs of easing around the world, giving airlines little hope of optimism for the near future. In a report in late July, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said recovery in air traffic has been slower than expected, leading it to forecast that global passenger traffic will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.

Source: TechNews, IATA
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Travel Industry Woes Cause Taiwan Travel Revenue, Spending to Hit Historical Lows in Q2

The border restrictions imposed around the world have sharply curtailed tourism, which resulted in a rare surplus in Taiwan’s balance of payments current account for services in the second quarter, according to Taiwan’s central bank. The surplus was attributed to a sharp narrowing of the country’s net travel deficit to just under US$100 million in the quarter, the lowest since the first quarter of 2016. Revenue from foreign visitors in Taiwan (counted as a services export) totaled US$94 million while spending by Taiwanese traveling abroad (a services import) totaled US$193 million, both of which set historical lows.

Photo/Shutterstock

Source: cynes.com
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Travel Agencies Closing Down or Downsizing despite Explosive Growth in Domestic Tourism

Taiwanese travel agencies, such as Gabriel Tours which is going out of business on Oct. 1, and Galilee Tours, which is laying off more than half of its staff, have been hard hit by the downturn in global travel. As of the end of July, 17 domestic travel agencies had applied to shut down and 26 had been disbanded, according to Transportation Ministry figures. The recent boom in domestic tourism has been of little help to most local travel agencies because they are generally oriented toward overseas travel, as are Gabriel and Galilee, and most Taiwanese arrange their own travel and do not take package tours when vacationing within Taiwan.

Source: cmmedia.com.tw
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Media News


ARO/MMX Overview of Usage of Travel-related Media Websites

Market research firm InsightXplorer uses Comscore MMX Multi-Platform data to observe trends how many Taiwanese use travel-related media through their desktops or mobile devices and analyze the profiles of visitors to those digital sites.

According to InsightXplorer’s latest report on the topic, the number of people who have checked digital information on travel has slid noticeably since global travel started to get hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in February and fell to its lowest point in a year in April. Because Taiwan’s successful efforts to control the virus gave people confidence to travel domestically, however, interest in travel rebounded in May, especially among those using mobile devices.

Graph/InsightXplorer

Source: InsightXplorer
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SEO a Valuable Tool for YouTube Videos! 7 Ways to Optimize Your Videos

SEO can be applied to videos by optimizing their content to help them rank higher and increase traffic. The following are techniques that can be used to improve your video or YouTube SEO and shape your content in ways that are more appealing to users. They will also help your videos be indexed and ranked higher on search engine result pages while standing out on YouTube.

● Three major advantages to a website of doing Video SEO

(1) Using videos can help your website draw traffic from untapped segments of consumers
(2) Increases amount of time users spend on your site
(3) Videos can be forwarded and shared, creating more external links

● 7 Techniques to Make the Most of SEO

(1) Choose video keywords, write appealing headlines and descriptions of your videos
(2) Provide high resolution videos
(3) Add a timeline to your videos
(4) Create an engaging video thumbnail
(5) Develop a video playlist
(6) Insert a video transcript
(7) Increase interaction between the video and the audience

Source: Marketersgo
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Instagram Rolls Out ‘Reels,’ Hoping to Lure Creators Away from TikTok

Facebook subsidiary Instagram has formally launched its own short-form video technology called Reels to take on TikTok, which has popularized the short video format, especially among younger users. The product will initially target American users and those in some other countries before expanding to other markets around the world.

Reels was launched in the United States on Aug. 5, and its development and introduction followed a product strategy Facebook has used in the past – drawing inspiration from a competitor’s popular product and then creating something on a subsidiary’s social platform that offers a similar service or function. Reels could be quite important in getting younger users to be more active on Instagram by providing a music and dance video function popular with that segment.

Amid accusations that Instagram Reels might be plagiarizing TikTok, Instagram product director Robby Stein said TikTok popularized the short video format, but Instagram said it will put more of an emphasis on adapting it to user desires. “We’re really focused on how this type of format could work within the Instagram community,” Stein said.

Photo/Instagram

Source: TechNews, The Verge
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Taiwan’s First Podcast Survey Analyzes Listeners’ Profiles, Listening Habits

Taiwan podcast company SoundOn launched a podcast user survey in July and had podcasts help distribute questionnaires. The more than 7,000 responses it received have given birth to Taiwan’s first podcast industry survey based on listener feedback, and the results were released jointly with INSIDE (inside.com.tw). They provide an overview of listener profiles and their listening habits.

Gender and Age
The male:female ratio of podcast listeners was 4:6, with singles and married people without children accounting for more than 80% of the respondents. Some 60% were professionals aged 23-32, while the age groups least likely to listen to podcasts were people aged 43 and above or students aged 18 and under.

Educational Background and Monthly Income
Nearly 95% of podcast listeners have a college education or higher and more than one-quarter have graduate degrees. The most common monthly income was NT$25,001-NT$50,000 (43.9% of podcast listeners), while nearly 25% had incomes of more than NT$50,000 per month.

Source: INSIDE
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Results of Online Vote for Taiwan’s Top 100 Influencers Released – Who Topped the List?

The second annual online vote to determine Taiwan’s 100 most popular influencers and internet celebrities ended on Aug. 14. A total of 1,210,928 votes were cast, and topping the list for a second year in a row was Tsai Tao-kui (蔡桃貴), followed by “Chien-Chien” of the YouTube series “Chien’s Eating” and Ariel Chen of “Ariel’s Travel Vlog.”

Several new faces cracked the Top 10 this year, including Ariel Chen, who made the Top 100 for the first time, fourth-place @beauty__Wu’s channel “見習網美小,” fifth-place “嘎嫂二伯,” and ninth place “Onion Man” (洋蔥先生與阿文).

Also worth noting is that this year’s voting was done by category, and therefore many of the 20 influencers with the highest votes were representative of specific niches, including three that are fully animated – “Onion Man,” “BugCat Capoo” (貓貓蟲咖波), and EggThings (蛋哥超有事).

Source: Business Next
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CASE STUDY


Chunghwa Post EZPost Membership Campaign

Key Visuals

Campaign Background

Chunghwa Post is moving aggressively into the digital era. In July 2016, it launched its nationwide “iBox” service (automated parcel sending/pickup), and it now is available at more than 2,000 locations around Taiwan. The goal of the “EZPost Membership Campaign” was to strengthen the visibility of the iBox service and boost usage. Any person who became an EZPost member during the promotional period was eligible for a lucky drawing, and new members also received an exclusive web address through which they could recommend their friends to join EZPost and be eligible to participate in a “recruitment king” contest.

Campaign Features

Aside from using digital media to promote the campaign, we also wanted to maximize internet exposure by working with micro-influencers on Facebook and Instagram to promote the iBox service, demonstrate how it works, and get people to join EZPost.

Landing Page

Digital Media Ads
●GDN

Facebook Ads

Instagram Ads

Native Ads

Key Opinion Leader Promotion

For more on micro-influencers’ contributions to the campaign, please see the campaign website

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