Chinese consumers shop online via mobile devices far more frequently than the global average. (Shutterstock)
When it comes to online shopping—whether via mobile device, PC, tablet, or social media—a new report finds no country tops China.
According to a survey released recently by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of more than 15,000 global online shoppers, 75 percent of Chinese respondents said they shop online weekly, compared to a global average of 21 percent.
The report finds that most Chinese online customers are fairly new to e-tail, since 63 percent of them made their first online purchase less than four years ago. However, that doesn't mean they’re not open to new technology—rather, they’re the group most willing to shop online via devices other than PCs, and they’re also the most willing to use social media for online shopping.
The survey results show just how crucial mobile technology is to e-commerce success in China, with one in four Chinese consumers responding that they shop with a mobile phone at least once a week. This number was dramatically higher than the global average of just 9 percent. Furthermore, 77 percent of all respondents said that they shop on mobile phones, compared to a global average of 43 percent, and 66 percent said they shop on tablets.
The report also found that 86 percent of Chinese respondents buy products on social media, which makes a strong social media presence critical for branding in China. “Consumers have the tools, literally at their fingertips, to immerse themselves in a retailer’s brand but also to skewer that brand on blogs or social media if the brand promise is broken,” says the report.
PwC states that the main message of the survey teaches the lesson that it’s crucial for brands to develop a comprehensive strategy that encompasses all possible channels for e-commerce. According to the report, brands must have “a unified brand story across all channels that promises a consistently superior customer experience and an integrated back-office operating model with agile and innovative technology.”
The rise of e-commerce in China doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar is completely dead, says PwC. Rather, online and offline should enhance one another. "China is more advanced in its use of mobile in the shopping experience than arguably anywhere else in the world, yet few retailers are bringing a digital experience to the physical store," PwC China digital consultant Colin Light told China Daily.