Online shopping did not appear overnight in China, it has been a market that has been developing rather rapidly over the past ten years. A new report has been released that is comparing the shopping habits of Chinese consumers online from ten years ago to the shopper habits that are being seen now.
One of the most notable differences that was seen was that ten years ago, Chinese shoppers often shopped via online stores that were centered out of Hong Kong and Macao. Today, we are seeing more Chinese online shopping trends that are getting products from all over the world. Namely, Chinese consumers are buying from North America, Japan, South Korea, Europe and South Africa. What has caused this change? The introduction of Alibaba’s Tmall, as well as the introduction of JD.com, have made it easier than ever for overseas vendors to sell their products to Chinese consumers.
More than two million products have been purchased by Chinese consumers online from overseas companies
Another interesting aspect is the type of products that consumers are now buying compared to ten years ago. These days, Chinese consumers want products that the local area is known for. Therefore, many people now purchase cod liver oil from Iceland or water purifiers from Germany, as these types of products have a reputation as being the best from their home countries. Ten years ago, since consumers were centering their online purchases to Hong Kong or Macao, the selection of such products was limited to what the area companies offered, which may or may not have been from the country renowned for this product.
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The report also touches on the role of social media with Chinese consumers today, and how this differs from ten years prior. Today, social media plays a huge role in the buying decisions of Chinese consumers. Not only are businesses utilizing social media platforms as a way to spread the word about a new product, give discounts or sales information, and to market their brand, but social media is the forum for consumers to give their honest opinions and reviews about the product. Today, social media can make or break a product trying to break into the online Chinese market. Ten years ago, though social media was present, it was not utilized as much as it is today.
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Overall, comparing online shopping in China now and ten years prior showcases just how much online shopping has grown. Chinese consumers have become the group of consumers that many brands are trying to reach. We also see a huge increase in the role of social media in the online shopping environment.