What are the latest e-commerce trends among shoppers in China?


Beijing, China – With China becoming more and more open to exploring new trends and strategies within the retail and commerce market, Asia-Pacific and Western brands ought to take better attention in order to succeed in tapping the Chinese consumer market, a new report from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence shows.

Citing data from market research firm eMarketer, who notes that 52% of total retail sales globally originate from China, the report unveils how China is ‘opening’ itself to the world in terms of commerce. For Chen May Yee, APAC director for Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, Chinese tech giants and global brands alike are trying new ideas first in cities like Shenzhen, from where they spread across China and its borders, hence no global brand can afford not to pay attention. 

Statistics-wise, 27% of Chinese consumers shop online four to six times a week, compared with 19% of Indians, 14% of Thais, 12% of Australians and 11% of Indonesians. Despite the regularity, 9% of Indian consumers say they shop online every day, compared to 7% in China.

In terms of spending power, Chinese consumers are willing to spend the most on online purchases, averaging to US$1,507 though Australia is not far behind, with an average of US$1,177.

While there has been a significant rise of the Gen Z demographic in the consumer space, the older generation are not to forget as well. China’s seniors are the last untapped demographic when it comes to commerce, but not for long. Post pandemic, 81% of Chinese consumers that are aged over 55 years old are now more comfortable using digital technology.

The report also notes that the pandemic and accompanying lockdowns have pushed record numbers online, often through sheer necessity when shops were shut down. This is evident by the fact that even in China, which already boasted a high level of digital literacy before the pandemic, 62% state that they have become more comfortable using digital technology post-pandemic.

In China, the country that created the mega-influencer capable of moving millions of dollars of merchandise in a single livestream, a degree of influencer fatigue is setting in. About 24% of Chinese say friends and family are now their biggest influence on buying decisions, versus 16% who cite social media influencers and 4% who say celebrities. In China, some online marketers are tapping into this shift by promoting friend recommendations, micro-influencers and peer-to-peer networks.

The report also notes that the Chinese market has pioneered various strategies and new demographics to tap into, including launching of live commerce as well as venturing into the gamer market, where eight in ten among Chinese respondents are playing games on mobile phones. Surprisingly, 91% of respondents who are over 55 years old say they do gaming as well on mobile.

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