China e-Commerce Review 2021: China remains the largest eCommerce market globally, and the e-commerce revenue is expected to grow at $1.26 trillion in 2021. Before the pandemic, the Chinese eCommerce industry was worth $862.2 billion. The pandemic has shaped the way consumers shop and consume products and services, paving the exponential growth. According to Internet Retailing, eCommerce in China is expected to jump to $1.63 trillion by 2025.
If you’re in the retailing and eCommerce sector, you are living in the most exciting times as Chinese consumers’ post-pandemic spending habits will also impact your business. As an entrepreneur, you need to keep up with the trends and adjust your marketing strategies to reach out to your audience effectively – even virtually.
#1 Chinese online shoppers are expected to increase
China’s eCommerce industry is pandemic-proof. Before COVID-19, the industry was worth $862.2 billion. After the pandemic, it jumped to $1.17 trillion in 2020, a 30% YoY increase. With more people flocking to online stores instead of visiting physical stores to avoid crowds, it’s undeniable that online shopping is part of the new normal in the post-pandemic setup.
Of most Chinese shoppers, 61% prefer to use e-wallets to pay merchants. On top of that, in 2020, there are 926 million Chinese online shoppers, and the numbers are set to increase to 988 million in 2021.
#2 Watch out for Chinese cross-border transactions and overseas customers
According to China Internet Watch, the Chinese cross-border eCommerce grew to 46% in Q1 2021. That said, the import and export of the industry in the first quarter are valued at $63.83 billion combined. What’s also great about this is that the Chinese government is continuously innovating and optimizing the regulations on imports and exports to foster healthy relationships with trading partners. This will also help build order in the system and promote new formats for more buyers and sellers.
As of this writing, there are over 600,000 cross-border companies in China. At the beginning of 2021, there are 42,000 newly registered enterprises. Aside from the North American and European markets, the local cross-border sellers aim to reach other countries like Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, to name a few.
#3 New retail blossoms with local players in tight competition
The figures for online shoppers are increasing, but Chinese consumers are also getting pickier. They require authentic and trustworthy shopping destinations and marketplaces with verified brand stores that can give them a one-stop-shop experience. With that being said, foreign brands and companies should be aware of the local marketplaces and be present in these places to gain legitimacy and exposure.
The top marketplaces are Taobao with 455.1 million visits per month, followed by Pinduoduo with 287.6 million, then JD.com with 284.7 million, and Tmall with 177.1 million. After the pandemic in China, Pinduoduo experienced consistency in monthly app visits. Another trend is the increasing demand for fresh produce and groceries sold in the M2C business model, cutting the middlemen.
#4 Livestreaming supports eCommerce growth
Another trend that you should watch out for is livestreaming. Each eCommerce platform has its own ways of providing merchants to reach out to customers. It’s proven to yield conversion of sales every year. The most popular live-streaming apps are Taobao live stream, Douyin, and Kuaishou.
In Taobao, the popular goods being sold live are jewelry, apparel, cosmetics, shoes and bags to name a few. Meanwhile, on Douyin, apparel, shoes, and bags, food and beverages, and cosmetics and skincare are the most live stream items.
China e-Commerce Market Review 2021: Final Thoughts
There’s no doubt that online shoppers in China are the driving force of growth in the retail sector. In the post-pandemic era, the demands are also increasing, and prefer to shop online. Shopping virtually has become part of the new normal and will likely stay. That’s why live streaming will also change the way businesses reach out to customers. With that said, if you need any eCommerce services, marketing strategies, video content, our team can help you build your brand’s exposure to effectively target your audience. At this point, no matter where you are, you can grow your business whether in Mainland or overseas.