In Q2 2012, China’s online shopping on Taobao by people in rural areas accounted for 7.11% of total; by Q2 2014, the rate increased to 8.3%. Online shopping is a rising trend in rural China.
In 2013, there were 268.94 million migrant workers in China. According to research of Tsinghua University, new generation of migrant workers spend 10% of their salary on clothes, which is mainly through online shopping. And some migrant workers would continue to do online shopping, or even become online shop owners when they are back home in rural areas, such as Wang Xiaobang, who sells agricultural products on Taobao and made a great success.
Rural China’s young people in their 20s or 30s tend to do online shopping, accounting for 23.3% and 32% respectively.
In 2013, 84.6% of Internet users in rural China surf the Internet on mobile phones according to data of CNNIC. By the end of November 30 2013, Taobao (including Tmall ) registered online stores located in China rural areas increased 24.9%, and the number in villages and towns rose 76.3% compared to the end of 2012.
A survey conducted by Wdxh.org in China’s 30 villages shows four characteristics about online shopping consumers in rural China.
- Rural residents’ spend concentrate on daily expenditure and children’s education. There is great demands in services like clothes shopping, money deposit, utility bills payment and package delivery
- 84.41% of rural residents accept online shopping
- Most residents only buy products online which they can not buy in their daily life
- Rural residents’ spend on online shopping is estimated between RMB500-2,000 per year.
Price advantage, products’ variety and convenience of delivery are three basic reasons for rural residents to shop online.
Tips for Reaching China Rural Consumers
According to the National Bureau of Statistics report, the domestic rural market represents China’s largest consumer group. There are more than 800 million rural population, 70% of the total 13 million population. To reach rural consumers in China, the following tactics are more effective:
- Television ads
- Painting ads on walls
- Advertise at the rural entrances
- Shopping bags
- Promotion at Local County Markets
It is estimated that total transaction value in rural China’s online shopping market will exceed RMB180 billion ($29.39 billion) in 2014 and in 2016, the value will be over RMB460 billion ($75.11 billion). Growth in online shopping in counties and villages in China has outpaced those in cities, becoming a new engine that is further driving China’s domestic consumption, according to research from Alibaba Group.