Chinese Shoppers Have Gone Mobile. So Should Brands

GMV Of China’s Mobile Shopping Market Grew To 11.64 Billion In Q2 2012

WeChat rolled out a mobile payment system last fall (Image: Bloomberg)

As netizens in China spend less time on PCs, increasingly plugged into their tablets and smartphones for everything from communication to commerce, mobile shopping has become a an important bright spot in the country’s booming e-tail market. As Jing Daily correspondent Alexis Bonhomme reported earlier this month, China will have several hundred million smartphone users by the end of this year, “able to receive directly tailor-made content, offers and services, make purchases via integrated payment systems, and instantly share news, insights and interests with their personal networks.”

As popular social media platforms like Sina Weibo and group messaging app WeChat roll out payment systems, mobile capabilities are becoming more important than ever for retailers and brands alike. According to Fashion United, China now has over 55 million mobile shoppers, a 136.5 percent increase from one year ago, which comprised 23 percent of the nation’s 242 million online shoppers in 2012. According to Qiu Lin, an Internet stock analyst at Guosen Securities in Hong Kong, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which accounts for more than 70 percent of online retail sales in China, receives 10 to 20 percent of its business from mobile devices.

In another study, iResearch Consulting Group reported that the gross merchandise volume (GMV) of China’s mobile shopping market grew to 11.64 billion yuan (US$1.87 billion) in Q2 2012, year-on-year growth of 488 percent.

With mobile shopping showing no signs of a slowdown, retailers and e-tailers may want to consider introducing more innovative, sophisticated, and — perhaps above all — user-friendly mobile capabilities to their services if they haven’t already. Though we’ll have to wait and see whether major global luxury brands invest in mobile e-commerce capabilities in China, we’re already seeing more “shop the look” fashion-focused apps pop up seemingly by the week.

Chart: iResearch China