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Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, that owns the three dominant online shopping platforms in China (Alibaba, Taobao and Tmall) knows Chinese e-commerce better than anyone else.  And according to him e-commerce in other countries and especially the US “is just online shopping. In China, e-commerce is a lifestyle.”

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Here are the reasons why e-commerce in China is more than purchasing goods online:

A still growing market

In 2013 China Chinese online shopping sales generated 314 billion dollars. This represents a huge part out of the 889 billion dollars reached by the global e-commerce sales last year. According to experts of the field, Chinese still have growth coming in the number of online shoppers. In the next two years, 194 million more new shoppers are indeed expected to join the 300 million Chinese already buying online.

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Online spending per user that was of 1040 dollars in 2013 is expected to grow to 1880 dollars per user by 2018.The e-commerce share in the country’s retail sales will grow of 10%, from 8% in 2013, it will represent 18% in 2018. E-commerce will therefore be one of the most important drivers in China’s consumption market.

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M-commerce, a growing part of Chinese online shopping

With China living its digital revolution, more and more citizens of the middle kingdom are adopting mobile. The m-commerce is therefore developing, and there are already 780 million of Chinese mobile internet users. This year 26% of the purchases were made through mobile. This figure has been made possible mostly because 58% of the mobile internet users are from low-tier cities situated in rural areas where 46% of the Chinese population lives. Their first contact with the internet is usually made via mobile devices. M-commerce is thus an important part of the online shopping in China. This part is about to grow even more thanks to the spread of 4G networks on the huge territory that is China.

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Evolution in Chinese daily lives

Chinese have therefore seen their life being transformed by their growing e-commerce market. They can shop wherever they want, whenever they want be delivered for free in a very short time, (sometimes even within 3 hours in big cities). So much that online shopping has recently been recognized as a women’s disease in China. Indeed 60% of women admit to shop online at work, and 27% say they shop on the toilets.

online shoppeuse

Shopping online is convenient and cheaper. Alibaba’s recently released its Shopping Price Index that shown that prices online declined.

The future of e-commerce in China is bright, according to the expert’s previsions it will contribute to 40% of the annual retail sales up to 2017. China’s consumption-led economy will therefore become completely dependent on its e-commerce.


To go further:

How to succeed in Chinese e-commerce? 

Chinese e-commerce is changing






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