How Was 2019 for E-commerce Sector in China?
By: Antonia Ava
With the advancement in technology and digitization influencing the business sector globally in 2019, some of the countries emerged as leaders in the digital industry. It comes as no surprise that China was among the top countries to witness a huge rise in online retail advancement. China’s rise as the global leader in E-commerce market has been nothing short of phenomenal as it experience some of the major shifts in its working and the way it captured the online customer attention.
Here are some of the E-commerce trends that affected the E-commerce sector in 2019. Although other trends also dominated the retail landscape, these few trends topped the list of E-commerce trends that changed the way the Chinese customer shopped in 2019.
1. Mobile E-commerce was on the rise
Over the years, China’s rise as the global leader in E-commerce has opened up many opportunities for retail businesses throughout the world. By the end of 2019, online retail sales increased to $1.5 trillion, which represented a quarter of China’s total retail sales volume. Consumers who purchased through online stores via their mobile phones accounted for 42% of total consumers and their number is continuing to escalate with each passing year.
Perhaps the credit of rising mobile E-commerce market can be attributed to WeChat, the most popular social network in China, with more than 800 million monthly active users. WeChat offered various functionalities which made it the top driver of E-commerce success in China, such as office plans, mini-programs, HTML5 pages and WeChat shops. Hence WeChat is, and would remain, a good place to start if brands want to establish a point of contact with the Chinese customer. And a professional language translation service can do wonders for you if taking advantage of mobile E-commerce is your goal.
2. Influence of Social Media Increased
With the rise in globalization, most of the companies realized the importance of social media to interact with the customers. While businesses know that social media is not just a means of establishing communication with the customer, they are also aware that it is the ultimate advertising and marketing tool by which brands can get their message out in order to secure more sales and revenue.
In China, the influence of social media rose so high in 2019 that 79% of Chinese customers had positive interactions with brands on social media that led them to endorse these brands more. As a result, about 71% of customers engaged in spending more as compared to 44% of global customers. This is the reason China can be considered as the lucrative market for growth, especially if a company uses the power of social media to propel its brand message and increase growth.
3. Omnichannel Shopping and Marketing multiplied
Granted, online retail channels are the new means by which consumers engage in purchase owing to the convenience offered, but some of the most fundamental needs of consumers can only be fulfilled by visiting a store—such as trying and testing a product, watching product demonstrations and accessing products in the store. Omnichannel shopping is the combination of both online and physical shopping, whereby consumers either search for products online but purchase by going to physical stores, or go to a physical store and then purchase the product online.
While the consumers in China engaged in this type of shopping experience, the market for omnichannel shopping is still new, as demand is there but supply is low. This is the reason global brands need to take advantage of the omnichannel shopping as well as hiring a professional language translation service to make a name for themselves in the highly lucrative Chinese market by offering personalized in-store shopping experience and online sales discounts.
4. Sales Events and Discounts dominated the retail landscape
That’s right. Sales and discounts may be a thing of the past but with the shift in technology and the E-commerce landscape, this sales and discount offering changed the way Chinese customer shopped in 2019. According to a consumer survey in China, the consumers who shopped at physical stores as well as online preferred sales discounts and offerings. In fact, these consumers were more in favor of “Everyday low prices” for higher-frequency items such as groceries. Brands in China need to practice sales events more as these are highly popular among the population.
A survey by Alibaba Group, the largest retail brand in China, revealed that the total GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) generated on Double 11 (a global shopping event in China) amounted to 7 times more than the Black Friday sales in US—that is phenomenal, and shows the power of sales events. Brands, therefore, need to take advantage of the shopping events to offer sales discounts as a means to propel their brands forward.
5. Brands harnessed the power of entertainment to drive sales
The use of entertainment in retail sales is already being practiced by brands worldwide, but consumers in China need entertainment as well when it comes to shopping. Big brands such as Alibaba and JD focused on securing their sales by offering interesting entertainment options such as virtual reality experiences, live streaming videos and online games.
In 2019, Macy’s created a virtual reality shopping experience that allowed the Chinese consumer to browse and take a stroll through New York’s flagship store and also purchase products through E-commerce channels. This is a classic example of how brands leveraged the power of technological shifts in E-commerce to offer entertainment opportunities to its customers—which is what all brands should be doing in China.
The Last Word
China is a highly lucrative market and one of the most popular ones when it comes to making a choice for global expansion. With the changes witnessed in E-commerce platforms owing to changes in technology and entertainment, the shifting retail landscape offered a lot for brands back in 2019.
To take advantage of the E-commerce shifts, as well as to enter the list of Chinese customer’s shopping carts, it is important to adapt your E-commerce stores accordingly—a task best performed by a reliable and professional language translation service. With a localization partner to help you through, influencing the Chinese customer to buy from your E-commerce store will be an easy task in 2020—for a greater revenue and more sales.