What do the over one billion more mobile users in China, the country with the world’s largest subscriber base, like to do with their devices? It is clear from a recent report by the China Internet Network Information Center (use Google translate to see report in language of your choice) that one thing they favor is shopping online.
As the report points out, China’s e-commerce market racked up a whopping 1.3 trillion RMB ($190 billion USD) worth of transactions in 2012. This was an increase of 66.5 percent over 2011.
The facts are impressive. In 2012, 242 million Internet users purchased goods online, and e-commerce transactions accounted for 6.1 percent of total retail sales of consumer goods. Growth was driven by mobile users:
The survey also found that mobile and social media drove e-commerce sales. 41.8 percent of shoppers said they had first seen information or promotions for a product on a social media site before deciding to purchase it.
Other interesting news is in the expenditure numbers:
In a word, WOW!
It should also be noted that according to estimates, China is about to pass the United States as the world’s largest e-commerce country. In fact, online Chinese giant Alibaba’s two portals, Taobao and Tmall, together handled 1.1 trillion yuan ($170 billion) in sales last year. This is more than eBay and Amazon combined.
Alibaba, in particular, is on track to become the world’s first e-commerce firm to handle $1 trillion a year in transactions. Just to provide context for how big these portals are, Taobao a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace, has more than 800 million product listings and 500 million registered users.
Alibaba says that Tmall, its business-to-business (B2B) site, has over 50,000 merchants.
The impact of mobile and social media is undeniable. What is fascinating, and something to literally and figuratively watch as people become increasingly wedded to multi-screen and multitasking in their homes, is how merchants evolve their strategies and tactics for the shift away from the PC as the shopping platform of preference.
There’s an old saying in the U.S. that, “When things get tough, the tough go shopping!” In China, it seems you don’t have to be tough to go shopping. You just need to go online and enjoy the experience.
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