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The Chinese Ecommerce Landscape

  
06 April 2017
  

The Chinese Ecommerce Landscape

The Chinese Ecommerce Market

The Chinese ecommerce market is a really complex and interesting landscape which is very different to that of the Western World. It’s a common misconception that all consumers shop in the same way offline and online across the globe and that’s simply not the case when you compare the Chinese and the UK market.

China itself makes up a massive 47% of total global ecommerce figures. What’s most surprising is that only 53.2% of the entire population have access to the internet, but still make up such a significant part of the global ecommerce market.

Online shopping in China grew by 26.6% in 2016 and this figure is only set to rise in 2017, especially as more and more of the remaining 46.8% of the population gain access to the internet.

Some Key Statistics About the Chinese Market

  • The total retail market – £4 trillion
  • The ecommerce market – £743 billion
  • 44.9% of shoppers are female
  • 55.1% of shoppers are male
  • The largest market for online internet use is 20-29 year olds, closely followed by 10-19 year olds, 30-39, 40-49 and 50-59.
  • Top 10 Categories for online sales:
    • Cosmetics
    • Bags
    • Women’s Clothing
    • Women’s Shoes
    • Accessories
    • Home Decor
    • Perfume
    • Lingerie
    • Men’s Clothing
    • Men’s Shoes
  • The Chinese consumer uses the all-encompassing social app WeChat for practically everything online, including browsing, shopping and using WeChat pay to complete transactions. Check out this video on the Irish Times website.

What are Chinese Consumers Like?

The Chinese consumer is brand conscious but price sensitive. They really value authenticity and quality so it’s key to get this messaging across quickly to the customer. When shopping, the Chinese consumer likes to see that the products they buy are localised and that the company appreciates the Chinese culture.

The big brands are listening – Oreo and KFC have changed their logo and their messaging and have diversified the product to appeal to the Chinese consumer. Western brands that sell online need to follow the example that the big brands are setting and amend their messaging so that it appeals to the ecommerce consumer in China.

The Chinese Ecommerce Landscape
The Chinese Ecommerce Landscape

Consumers in China enjoy reading about the heritage of a company and value the ‘About Us’ story behind the businesses they purchase from but they also like to know that you cater to their needs — so your About Us, Delivery and Warranty content pages need to be tailored to the Chinese consumer.

Branding and design are quite different to the western consumer as well. Logos are cuter, interfaces are busier, navigation is a little more complex and updated regularly. The Chinese consumers like to see Chinese people wearing or using the products.

Payment methods are also different. The Chinese consumer prefers to use AliPay, which is the payment processor set up by Chinese giant Alibaba and works in a similar way to PayPal. In the video referenced previously, you can see that WePay is also becoming an extremely popular payment method.

How Can You Use the IRP to Appeal to the Chinese Market?

There are lots of ways you can use the IRP Platform to appeal to the Chinese market. Think about creating Chinese-focused design and content for the following areas:

  • Logo & Strapline
  • Top-Level Navigation
  • Heading Banners
  • Top Banners
  • Home Pages; Best Selling in Country, Top Picks for China, etc.
  • Currency
  • Country Translations with an IRP-approved translator
  • Custom Content Pages
  • Using the IRP WorldPay Integration to offer AliPay.

Things to Consider when Shipping Products to China

There can definitely be a few loops to jump through to make your export into China streamlined and effective. These are not 100% necessary and there are a few locations where there are more relaxed ecommerce borders, however you should be aware of a few potential issues when exporting:

  • There is the ‘Great FireWall of China’ which can have an effect on your ability to appear in searches in the Chinese search engines, such as baidu.com.
  • You may want to look into the Commercial Internet Content Provider Licence - ICP.
  • Imported goods must meet local Chinese regulatory requirements.
  • Labelling requirements mean that all cosmetics and apparel must have appropriate standards labelling.

In Conclusion

In short, the Chinese market is a very different, complex market that requires research and proper planning before entering seriously. There are a number of ways in which you can use the IRP to fully appeal to the Chinese market but you must carefully consider your marketing strategy in order to get in front of the relevant traffic.

For more information on how to export to the Chinese market, please contact your Export Technologies Account Manager.

Additional Resources

Statistics in this article came from the Invest NI Exporting to China Conference, referencing eMarketer 2016.

Comments

Anonymous - Very interesting.... we need to join the China-Britain council...
20 Apr 2017 16:14
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