Chinese consumption is becoming increasingly Web and mobile-focused
Connected devices proliferation as well as the access to numerous new payment services benefit Chinese e-commerce. As well as national and international stakeholders that efficiently lead the way to the market.
Smartphones, tablets and other connected devices play an essential part in the Chinese everyday life and should benefit electronic and mobile commerce. Indeed, according to the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker study from IDC, the Middle Kingdom is about to become the world largest smartphone market in 2012 with a 18.2 percent market share, overtaking the U.S. with currently a 21.3 percent market share. Furthermore, another study - from Mintel this time - reveals that 96 percent of adults from the new Chinese middle class own a computer and 97 percent own a smartphone. And they are very eager to use it to access new services, and for shopping of course. But tech innovation is not sufficient to stimulate e-commerce. If it is taking on such proportions, it is also because in addition to the fight against traffic in counterfeit goods, it is getting easier and easier to pay online.
Barriers starting to break down
Indeed, China’s low credit cards penetration levels made it difficult for electronic commerce to emerge. However, the obstacles are very close to being overcome : according to the Mintel study, 52 percent of Chinese middle class consumers currently possess a credit card. As for Gen Y-ers, they clearly appear to prefer online over brick-and-mortar shopping. Indeed, more than eight out of ten middle class young adults shopped online (82 percent) between June and July 2011, as a study from Visa Asia reveals. Beyond the obvious potential that comes with a large population, a McKinsey report stresses that the time spent online by an average Chinese Internet user is 46 minutes, compared to only 37 minutes a day in the United States.
A real appeal for dematerilization
Social media also play a very important role in consumption. 80 percent of Chinese consumers use social media, especially local platforms such as Sina Weibo or Tencent Weibo, while only 39 percent do so in Japan. Of course, these developments didn’t go unnoticed by national stakeholders. Or even globally, where the growth of online and mobile shopping is also a subject of interest for companies that find in these channels an easy way to enter the market... Provided, of course, they don’t forget to fit the local specificity.
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