China is one of the largest e-commerce markets and adopters of digital technologies in the world. In 2013, it overtook the US to emerge as the largest e-commerce market. In FY17, China had over 750 million Internet users and a penetration of nearly 55%. Its online retail market is expected to grow from 17% of total retail sales in 2017 to 25% by 2020. Other Asian markets such as India are on track to follow China’s growth trajectory. china ecommerce market
The Chinese marketplace is quite competitive, with local and international brands contesting for consumer attention and market share. Retails and brands constantly need to innovate to stay in tune with the demands of customers.
China’s e-commerce market is characterised by trends such as mobile-first consumer behaviour, digital payments, and social commerce adoption. These trends can be broadly classified across four main themes or growth waves.
The first theme discusses the adoption of omnichannel technology and the consumer journey between online and offline. The second theme delves into the growth of mobile payments driven by the rise in the usage of mobile phones for online shopping. Further, the third theme highlights the expansion of the digital ecosystem and addition of value-added services by China’s top three e-commerce brands to enhance the existing network. Strategic partnerships between search engines, social media platforms and international players that are building adjacent capabilities are discussed in the fourth theme.
Global companies are focused on tapping the potential of e-commerce ready Asian countries where industry has witnessed similar trends.