How Cross-border E-Commerce is The Main Driver of Online Sales in China


More than a quarter of Chinese citizens using e-commerce. Online retail is moving toward individualization and customization

Cross-border e-commerce is the main driver of online sales. Chinese e-shoppers overpassed more than a quarter of PRC population by the end of June. In 2018, Chinese consumers spent about $5.38 trillion in total on retail sales of social goods. And as consumption is on the rise in 3rd tier and 5th tier cities, they will fuel even faster growth.


According to official data, China’s online retail sales increased 17.8% year on year to $684 billion in the first half of this year. Alibaba and JD topped the list, but new platforms such as Pinduoduo are immediately behind. The report attributed the growth of online shoppers to increasing consumption in smaller cities and rural areas, expanding international online shopping business and new marketing models.



Why does it matters? China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported how the annual growth rate of China’s e-retail market has stabilized at around 20% after falling from above 30%. This little drop comes as a broader economic slowdown takes a grip, and the US trade war escalation. On the other side, chinese firms are going global supported by international platforms of main PRC based e-tailer.

Of the total, online retail sales of physical goods came to RMB 3.82 trillion for the first six months, up 21.6% from a year ago and accounting for 19.6% of the total retail sales in the country. Let’s see in details. Cross-border e-commerce continue to be the main drivers of sales.


Lower tier cities will be the main engine’s of tomorrow. The addition of people from China’s lower tier cities and rural areas resulted in a 45% growth in consumers, amd these people loves foreign products. According to latest  report, the population of cross-border e-commerce retail consumers is growing rapidly, with 10 times as many Tmall International consumers last year as there were in 2014.  China’s cross-border e-commerce platforms create opportunities for foreign brands and this trend is expected to grow over the years.



Moreover, the information channels available to consumers in the digital age have become more plentiful than ever before. Consumers’ awareness has risen gradually. Their focus has shifted from traditional consumption to emerging consumption and from commodities to services. More emphasis has been placed on quality, content and shopping experience for goods and other diversified needs.

Live streaming is a must in your marketing strategy. In 2018, there were only 8.55 million people browsing on Tmall through Taobao live streaming. In 2019, that number reached 35.03 million. What about your target? Women are the main consumers of imported goods making up 73% of the total in 2018, while so called “silver generation” will be responsible for 150% growth in consumption in each regional market in the next 2-3 years. 




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