Boosted by favourable government policies and an increasing Chinese propensity for foreign goods, many Chinese consumers are now interested in buying foreign products online. Mintel's new report 'Haitao Retailing' reveals that almost 58 per cent consumers bought foreign products online from domestic shopping websites, with quality of products (63 per cent) and pricing (38 per cent) as the prime concerns when shopping for imported products online.
The cross-border online shopping market value grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.3 per cent in 2015, while the total online retail market during the same period saw 48.8 per cent CAGR growth.
“The continued growth of online retail, backed by increased consumer interest in spending time online, especially in rural areas, combined with the government's support of online sales and an uptake of m-commerce and online payment systems, indicate that online retail will continue strong growth in the near future. Indeed, the future outlook for 'haitao' shopping looks good. However, it is an increasingly competitive market. Brands need to stand out by offering something different. Chinese consumers want top quality, and they need to have that quality proven through good information and good service,” said Matthew Crabbe, APAC research director at Mintel.
Comparing Chinese domestic and overseas online shopping websites, foreign sites are perceived by shoppers to do better in terms of product quality, while domestic websites do better in most other areas, such as good value for money spent and fast delivery.
“Not all Chinese consumers feel the need to have foreign products or services. However, fashion, furniture, food and drinks are much more significant online shopping categories, representing opportunity for online retail market growth. And we are seeing there is another great opportunity for niche brands, with specialist products having the potential to make an initial market entry into China via overseas online retail channels,” added Crabbe.
“Consumer attitudes to cross-border online shopping can be summarised with reputation, reviews and recommendations. Helpful advice and information about products, a good return policy and a variety of delivery options are important in building reputation. Good service and good products are the key areas where online retailers must learn to compete in the future,” Crabbe concluded. (NA)
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