Watch Out How These Trends Shape China E-commerce Market

Curious what’s hot and not in China e-commerce market these days? 

E-commerce is still king. It’s always the way of life of most Chinese consumers. According to eMarketer, “Retail sales in China will grow 3.5% to $5.291 trillion this year. That’s considerably weaker than 2016’s growth rate of 10.4% and is a continuation of a slowdown that started in 2018. We forecast that growth will not see a rebound until 2021.”

Everything is moving and developing fast in China. Trends like social e-commerce, short video apps, and emerging technologies are shaping the market. 

Let’s take a look at what’s happening in China internet and e-commerce. As we approach another season, this is also an excellent time to assess what you’d like to do for short- and long-term.


#1 Short video apps with e-commerce features for social commerce

Douyin and Kuaishou are two of the most popular short video apps among youngsters in China. WeChat and Weibo remain indispensable when buying and making transactions online. 

But when 15-sec of fame with Douyin makes a youngster feel accepted and recognized on a video.

As of this writing, there are about 500 million monthly active users on Douyin. Kuaishou, which is popular among youngsters in rural China, has about 400 million. 

Douyin, for example, supports e-commerce features like Taobao, JD.com, or Tmall links. Influencers and brands can sell items with the app, making social commerce easy for users.

#2 Super apps’ host of features for convenience

Super apps are apps that have a host of features where the user can almost do anything within its platform. WeChat is a super app because of its unique features. 

Booking flights, taxis, ordering food, and so much more. Chinese consumers live on super apps like WeChat.

What makes super apps unique is the availability of payment methods within the app. According to Kagan’s 2019 China Online Consumer Survey, 45% of respondents indicated they use UnionPay’s mobile payment system. 43% indicated they use both UnionPay and WeChat Pay.

The super apps make consumers’ lives more comfortable and more convenient, offline and online.

#3 Group or team buying model to save more

Pinduoduo is the newest force in the e-commerce market. What’s unique about this platform is the group or team buying model. Online shoppers can choose from a wide range of products – from home appliances to groceries, food, and so much more. 

It has a social component where you need to invite or encourage friends to buy with you so that you get the lower price. The company calls this the “team purchase” model. Shoppers share the products on WeChat or QQ with their friends and contacts. 

Pinduoduo offers other incentives like cash, free products, coupons, and more. 

What do you think of these trends?

Should Tencent (owner of WeChat) feel threatened as Douyin is becoming the youngsters’ favorite? Will super apps reach a point of saturation among consumers? 

Everything is moving and developing fast in China. Compared with western e-commerce business models, it’s evident that China is way ahead. Way ahead when it comes to models, platforms, and features. So, how will you – if you’re in the e-commerce industry – position your company in the next few months? How about the next few years?

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