China is the world’s largest online retail market, with total revenue expected to reach 3.1 trillion Yuan (502.4 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, according to data from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). In fact, online sales amounted up to 0,63 trillion Yuan (79,4 million Euros) during the second semester of this year, which means 47,1% more compared to the same period of last year. In total retail sales in China during the second semester of 2014 represent 6,2 trillion Yuan (6200 million Euros), according to the Chinese Bureau of Statistics. This means online retail sales surpassed 10% of retail sales in one semester.
Last week, from the 8th to the 11th of September, Chinese and international experts in e-commerce came together in Xiamen, province of Fujian, at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade to discuss the challenges of cross-border online retail.
Of the 332 million Chinese that do their shopping online, each day more and more have a higher income better computer knowledge and more fashion-sensitive.
Therefore, more and more European firms manage websites in Chinese in order to penetrate the market, the same way Chinese companies try to approach the international market. On the one side, a growing middle class in China has higher income and can afford to buy foreign products and luxurious goods. On the other side, Chinese products are competitive and have improved in terms of quality. All this makes e-commerce between China and the rest of the world more and more profitable.
However, even with more than positive forecasts on the future of online sales, there are still many challenges to be overcome when trying to conquer a foreign market via internet. Markets such as the Catalan or Spanish are small in terms of population and territory compared to China, and the products reach their destination in the span of few days. But when trying to enter such big markets it is necessary to have local collaborators in order to overcome logistic challenges, for example, and reduce the time for the goods to go from one place to another. Also at a higher level, experts agree better management at customs is needed, as well as better tariffs to give the industry the push it needs.
Another of the most discussed challenges during the conference was the fact that chinese taste differs from western taste and therefore offer needs to adapt, products need to be localized as well as marketing strategies. For example, when it comes to deciding whom to address marketing campaigns, it is good to know that within the Chinese market, women are at the top spot in terms of online shopping. And the most popular goods are clothing (they represent 41% of the purchases), mobile recharges in second place (15,4%) and beauty articles (9,4%) as number three.
In any case, both local and international experts believe that not only are those challenges surmountable, but also big enough for both local and foreign companies. This said, if you have any doubts, or you are interested in China or the Chinese market, don’t hesitate to contact us:
Chinese and International experts meet in Xiamen, China, to discuss the present and future of the growing online retail market.
Online retail sales grew 47% during the second semester of this year compared to the same period of the previous year.
Women keep the top spot of the online shopping ranking, especially when it comes to clothing, mobile recharges and beauty articles.