There’s no doubt that China’s recent consumer trends have caught the world’s attention with it being home to the world’s biggest digital marketplace and making up almost 90% of the overall B2C market. That is a shocking 731 million Internet users in China alone, with 95% of them accessing the internet through their mobile phones, according to the China Internet Network Information Center- CNNIC. Statista has also predicted that the number of smartphone users will reach 2.1 billion by 2021 worldwide.
In 2016, the Chinese Internet market expanded by 6.2% – meaning there are now over 600 million middle class consumers- most of which use their phones to shop online. So, what does this information mean? Numbers aside, more and more people are shopping on their phones, and nobody is better at online shopping than the Chinese. If you are a retailer and your e-commerce website or mobile app is only provided in English, you’re missing out on billions of dollars in sales in the Chinese digital market.
If that’s the case, why are there some global businesses that aren’t looking to expand their services and products to the Chinese? Simply put, they’re afraid. Reaching out to Chinese consumers can seem like a daunting prospect. Not only do you need to translate your existing website, understand local taxes, tariffs, and laws, most importantly, you need to fully understand the local spending culture and habits.
China’s e-commerce essentially comes in the form of mobile commerce, and has been ahead of the West’s as early as 2009 when Alibaba released their payment system, Alipay, pulling China ahead of the U.S. in terms of mobile payment adoption. When Alibaba hosted Single’s Day promotions, 82% of Chinese shoppers purchased using their phones, while Amazon saw only 36% of Black Friday purchases coming from mobile phones. This is as big an indicator as any that coming in with standard procedures used in Europe and the US might not be sufficient to take full advantage of China’s consumers.
By localizing e-commerce platforms and methods to encompass Chinese cultural trends, retailers can gain an advantage and in turn achieve higher volumes of sales. Many brands have already been taking advantage of live-streaming platforms, resulting in instant sales in large quantities. For example, in 2016, a trend known as “see now, buy now” allowed users on China’s Tmall site to purchase designs from the runway in real time. Burberry similarly utilized China’s leading messaging/social app, Wechat, which has over 800 million active users, to live-broadcast their show at New York fashion week, making sales of the Burberry Fall collection in record time. Other global brands such as Maybelline live-streamed their new ambassador announcement, selling over 100,000 lipsticks in two hours.
For retailers to fully benefit from China’s online consumers, they must understand the local market, their needs, and how to best appeal to them. CSOFT’s localization services provides businesses with the expertise and knowledge needed to maximize profit in local markets. What are you waiting for? Take advantage of China’s opportunities and localize today.