The retail world in China is one that is full of diversity and many companies are aching to enter into this market. When most people think of retail shopping in China, they automatically think of online shopping platforms like Tmall, JD.com and the like. For companies who are looking to enter into the Chinese market, doing so through an online channel is going to be the best bet for making it big in China.
For many companies who are from other countries, this bit of news is surprising. After all, in the past year or so, there have been more brick and mortar shopping malls built in China than in other place of the world. According to a shop owner in the Bainaohui mall located in Shanghai:
“Business has gone downhill over the past year. Everyone buys things online these days, and there is just too much competition.”
For emerging businesses into China, this is the opportunity to get their foot into the door, as this could have been difficult when trying to maintain a brick and mortar presence in China beforehand. Companies can now utilize the shopping platforms offered to offer their local goods to Chinese consumers. For example, Tmall Global has partnered with several companies throughout the world, allowing Chinese consumers to have products that are known in that area, as tea is being purchased from Europe on a regular basis via these shopping platforms.
But, what does this mean for the shoppers of China? Shoppers of China now have more choices than they ever had before. The consumer can go to their local retail mall to find the perfect item they desire, or they can simply log onto the Internet and shop from the comfort of their home, or while waiting for the bus. Having the products of the world at your fingertips is super easy for Chinese consumers.
The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, put it best when he stated:
“In China, e-commerce is a lifestyle.”
This comes after China shoppers spent $965bn for the year of 2014 via mobile shopping, most often from their smartphones.
For brick and mortar businesses in China, it is clear that times are changing. Shop owners are closing down, looking for their next move. But for consumers, the retail market is full swing and thriving. And there does not seem to be any end in sight.