China e-commerce accounts for over 25% of its consumer retail sales in the first half of 2020.
E-commerce is very advanced in China. Chinese consumers buy products or services online expecting bonus gifts, great packaging, and fast delivery.
E-commerce platforms such as Taobao, JD, and Pinduoduo are the most common way businesses reach and sell to Chinese consumers online. Independent e-commerce websites are much less common than the rest of the world.
Some Chinese are also used to buy through Daigou agents who are usually Chinese residing overseas and buy in a foreign market and ship to China for a small fee.
Social media and live streaming have become top vehicles for driving e-commerce sales in China. Sales from Alibaba live streaming platform grew by 150% for 3 consecutive years.
Check out cross-border e-commerce in China here.
Alibaba leads China e-commerce market in B2B, B2C, and cross-border sectors. In B2B, it leads with Alibaba.com (English language for global B2B) and 1688.com (Chinese language for domestic SME B2B). In B2C, it leads with Taobao and Tmall.
Taobao is the largest B2C e-commerce website and platform in China, followed by JD.com and Pinduoduo. Pinduoduo started and stays a mobile-only shopping platform with the fastest growth in China’s lower-tier cities.
The top 3 mobile shopping apps, including Taobao, Pinduoduo, and JD, have a total number of 861 million unique users. The average monthly time spent on shopping apps grew by 35% YoY to 8.1 hours. See a more detailed comparison of these top shopping apps here.
These apps are particularly popular among the female demographic.
All e-commerce companies in China continuously run promotions and campaigns throughout the year. The largest shopping festivals in China are Double 11 (or Singles’ Day) in November and mid-year promotion 618 (August 18).
Other e-commerce events include Double 9 (9 Sep), Chinese New Year, Black Friday, and other important festivals and holidays.
China’s top e-commerce and retail are being integrated, a concept brought by Alibaba “New Retail”.
Can I sell to consumers in China via e-commerce?
Yes. There are several ways to do that. You can either list your products on China’s e-commerce platforms or start a mobile shop running on top of WeChat. You can run your own e-commerce website but the conversion rate will be very low if you don’t have a fast website or high brand awareness.
What are the popular payment gateways?
The most popular ones are Alibaba’s Alipay (officially under Ant Group) and Tencent’s WeChat Pay. You can also offer credit card payment options. But, credit card is not as popular; and, some domestic credit card may not be accepted.
How do I do cross-border e-commerce selling to Chinese?
Visit our CBEC section for details.