Feeds

Chinese shoppers lead way in global e-commerce stakes

Can't get enough of that online stuff

Boost IT visibility and business value

Shoppers in China are twice as prolific online as those in the UK and US but retailers are struggling to keep up with the growing sophistication of their multi-channel purchasing behaviour, PricewaterhouseCoopers has found.

PwC’s latest global survey on the subject found that around 70 per cent of consumers in the People’s Republic shop online at least once a week, compared with 40 per cent in the US and UK and 20 per cent in the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

The consulting giant also revealed that despite the relative immaturity of e-commerce in China, more respondents there described themselves as ‘expert’ shoppers (86 per cent) than in any other region.

This represents challenges as well as opportunities for bricks and mortar retailers, especially given that the Chinese shoppers surveyed buy around two-thirds of their clothing, footwear, books, music and films online – around double that of respondents from other countries.

Retailers have been slow to adapt to the needs of their customers and must focus on enhancing the multi-channel experience as well as basic elements such as delivery and returns and product choice, said PwC.

"The most likely scenario is that stores will serve two distinct purposes,” said Carrie Yu, PwC's retail and consumer Leader for China and Asia Pacific.

“First, they will act as showrooms, where customers come for inspiration and are able to browse and to physically interact with products. Their second purpose will be to provide a convenient transaction and collection point, where customers come to complete a journey started online.”

Chinese consumers also seem to be well ahead of the pack when it comes to using mobile and social media to make purchases. Shoppers in Hong Kong (44 per cent) and China (40 per cent) topped the list of those who follow brands through social media.

The bad news for western retailers is that across the survey respondents said they overwhelmingly favoured local brands. In China this means Taobao, Suning and Gome, although Amazon has managed to sneak in there too thanks to its purchase of domestic player Joyo in 2007.

The report shows China is already well on its way to becoming the global e-commerce leader the government is aiming for, with a recent edict from on high revealing ambitious growth plans which will require a quadrupling of web sales by 2015 to reach 18 trillion yuan (£1.4tr).

It’s not certain how far the strict oversight and ‘guidance’ the government is planning to enforce will stifle this growth, although it’s unlikely the Party would interfere in anything making China economically superior to the rest of the world.

The UK is no slouch in this space, of course. Although it can’t compete in the value of its total online sales, it will lead the way over the next four years when taking money spent online as a percentage of total GDP, according to the Boston Consulting Group. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.