According to the latest figures from the Chinese government, ecommerce transactions in China reached over 13 trillion yuan (US$2.1 trillion) in 2014. The ability to address China’s market may be a true differentiator of success sooner rather than later.
Despite annual economic growth rates of 7-8 per cent in the last few years, China’s retail market growth has been slowing. Not, however, in the ecommerce market, where B2C online sales are growing at an annual rate of 25 per cent.
Based on Bain & Company analysis, research from AdMaster suggests that B2C online retail in China will grow three times faster than overall retail, and by 2018 half of total online sales will come from Tier-3 cities and below.
AdMaster positions itself as China’s leading data solution provider, specialising in data collection, analysis and management. It argues that ecommerce penetration continues to increase for core categories, such as consumer electronics, which registered 20 per cent penetration rate. But new categories are gaining ground as well. In groceries for example, one of the fastest-growing categories, penetration is now at 3 per cent.
Among the most important trends to emerge is that consumers are bypassing online to jump direct to mobile retail. While already the world’s largest ecommerce market, 2015 could see China lead the pack in mobile commerce as well. AdMaster analysis suggests that 80 per cent of Chinese consumers who bought online in 2014 made at least one purchase from a smartphone; 20 per cent are weekly mobile shoppers.