Acquity Group Global Usability Study Reveals U.S. and Chinese Consumer Preferences for Web Design

Share Article

A comparison of American and Chinese eCommerce site designs revealed that American audiences are much more likely to be influenced by positive product reviews than Chinese consumers, who rely on research to demonstrate the quality of goods and are much more price sensitive.

News Image

Acquity Group LLC, a leading global Brand eCommerce™ and digital marketing company, today announced the release of its Global Usability Study. The study, which surveyed American and Chinese consumers on their website usability preferences, was designed to better understand online shopping behaviors of consumers in China.

Findings revealed that both groups of consumers favored the American-style web design over the Chinese-style design, especially on the home page. American consumers gave the American style a 78% approval rating, while Chinese consumers gave an approval rating of 72%.

American audiences tended to rate both design styles an average of 5-10% (75%-80%, versus 70-75%) higher than Chinese audiences -- indicating the Chinese respondents had a slightly more critical perception of web design styles. Chinese respondents pointed out the American-style design use of “big pictures can drive attention, but [that] information [was] not enough”, and that the Chinese-style had “too many product pictures on the homepage,” making one consumer “tired.”

Chinese respondents also noted a lack of advertised promotions more readily than Americans, and were more frequently affected by price points. One respondent said, “I hope there could be more promotion[s], higher discount[s] than other Websites.”

“Creating a positive and rewarding web experience is a complex formula of design best practices coupled with cultural preferences,” said Dominic Lee, Acquity Group Creative Director. “Although we went into the study with general cultural assumptions, the insights we collected about consumer preferences in both countries were unexpected. The cultural styles were not as easily categorized as we initially believed. This tells us that it is time to cross-pollinate the international eCommerce space.”

The Web Experiences:

As part of the survey process, three web page layouts were shown in both American-style and Chinese-style designs. Acquity Group created the Chinese-style and American-style versions of a hypothetical eCommerce apparel site based on a set of generally accepted design principles for each market. Participants were asked to evaluate three separate web pages from each style of site – a homepage, category landing page, and an individual product detail and order page.

The American-style design featured a clean home page with a large, branded image, limited selection of promotions and information, with little or no scrolling capabilities, and similarly structured product category landing and detail pages.

On the other hand, the Chinese-style site was much more information-heavy, characteristic of the typical retail website. Product images, descriptions and promotions were all included upfront on the homepage, with long pages and opportunity for continuous scrolling. This was consistent with the category landing and product detail pages.

Best Practices for Entry into American and Chinese eCommerce Markets:

Acquity Group embarked on this study to generate analytics for chief marketing and IT officers as they continue to evaluate their digital channels in foreign markets.

The study revealed that consumers in the Chinese and U.S. markets have distinct tastes when it comes to interacting with digital channels, suggesting that marketers will need to explore new ways to merchandise a site and display product information when moving their brands into foreign markets.

“U.S. companies can save on costs by re-using designs and functionality from domestic-style home pages and landing pages, but winning over the Chinese consumer will require a product page redesign to enhance both the quality and quantity of product information, which will likely prove beneficial to their home market as well.” said Lee. “Most Chinese companies launching in the U.S. should start from scratch with a new U.S.-style home page, but also keep in mind that U.S. consumers value the enhanced information featured in Chinese-style designs.”

To download the Acquity Group Global Usability Study, visit

About Acquity Group:

Acquity Group is a leading global Brand eCommerce™ and digital marketing company, creating award-winning digital experiences for global brands. Our multi-disciplinary approach brings together strategy, design, and technology to create unique brand experiences that build firm customer relationships. Acquity Group works with leading brands like Adobe, AT&T, General Motors, Motorola, and Saks Fifth Avenue through offices in North America and Asia. To define a unique perspective for your business, contact Acquity Group at

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Emily Johnson
Visit website