The strength of China’s booming online shopping economy lies in the flashy purses of the country’s affluent upper middle class — young women equipped with a handful of high-tech devices, a higher education, high-paying jobs and a collective buying power that’s more than double that of Americans’.
“‘Women hold up half the sky,’ Chairman Mao once said,” according to a recent report in The Guardian. “In the Chinese digital economy, the same is true, with a newly empowered middle class of wealthy, well-educated women who live and breathe social media and online shopping.”
These wired women amassed $9.34 billion in purchases on Singles Day, the Eastern equivalent of the West’s in-store Black Friday and online Cyber Monday, which last year totaled just $4.16 billion combined. Year-round, these 115 million Chinese women infuse $3 trillion into the powerful Asian economy, much of it directed toward beauty and fashion products.
And the proliferation of their social influence is only accelerating that impact. Whether enshrined by the ever-present WeChat buzz or boasted throughout China’s other fast-rising social media technologies, online shopping trends like “shai” hold luxury living up as the gold standard for aspiring wired woman.