Haitao: Chinese consumers increasingly prefer to purchase abroad


There used to be two online shopping spree festivals in China — double 11, or Singles’ day, and double 12, the make-up-for-shopping day. This year, Amazon marked “Black Friday” a shopping spree on Chinese shoppers’ calendar by promoting the sales of foreign products on Amazon China. Chinese consumers can order products from America, Japan, Australia and from many other countries on the overseas products webpages, which are shipped into China directly, just like shopping on any domestic website. This new shopping method is called Haitao in Chinese.

Haitao amazon

Lack of trust at home leads to great sales overseas.

According to Amazon, Black Friday sales volume was more than what they expected. The page views of Amazon’s overseas products webpage reached one billion on the first day, adding 70,000 more products to meet the need of Chinese consumers.

Amazon is not the only one in this business. Tmall and Suning also started doing haitao as well. At the same time, haitao.com and many other new start-up websites are aiming at the promising business.

Why do Chinese consumers haitao?

Some people say haitao is popular in China because owning foreign products makes them feel proud and different. However, considering that by ordering products on foreign websites and dealing with the complicated shipping process, haitao itself shows higher risk than simply buying on Taobao. There must be a rational and maybe urgent reason behind this need. The lack of specific high-quality products is the reason.

haitao paypal

Growing demand for products China cannot supply

Premier Li Keqiang also said the supply in China in some ways can not keep up with needs, which causes the demand of high quality goods from foreign countries.

What are Chinese consumers haitao-ing?

Clothes and accessories, skin care and cosmetics, and electronics are the three major products Chinese consumers are buying from oversea market. People are purchasing these products more than others because the same products in China have very high prices and some of the brands don’t even exist in China.

haitao ecommerce

In some cases you can get it cheaper buying direct from outside China

Besides, China has concerns of food safety especially after the Sanlu milk powder scandal was leaked, which contributes a lot to the huge need of foreign baby care and pregnancy products.

The future of Haitao

There’s no doubt that the market for haitao is growing bigger and bigger. Right now, China’s RMB has become the IMF’s third SDR basket. This shed more light to the already bright haitao business. Maybe in a few years, the Black Friday shopping spree will surpass double 11 on sales!

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Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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