Ten year study finds Chinese shoppers account for 28 per cent of online shopping overseas

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Ten year study finds Chinese shoppers account for 28 per cent of online shopping overseas

Related tags Online shopping Skin care products Retailing

According to a report published by China's largest e-tailer Taobao.com; 2015 witnessed explosive growth in online shopping overseas, with new buyers accounting for 28 per cent, and with a preference for local specialties in other countries and regions.

The research carried out over a ten year period reveals that online shoppers in China have expanded their foothold to more than 100 countries and regions in 2015.

The most sought after products were reported to be cosmetics and skin care products, which have been bought by more than half of that 28 per cent of buyers.

"Newcomers prefer cosmetics while more experienced ones like food,"​ the report states.                       

Previously, Chinese buyers were thought to prefer shopping websites in Hong Kong and Macao but have now switched their attention to the likes of Japan and South Korea.

China's rural villages also have a major effect on online purchases

With 10 per cent of China's rural communities reportedly making a living selling products online, e-commerce retailers are making moves to invest in these merchants.

With little or no access to shopping malls, inhabitants of China's rural villages have no choice but to buy online, particularly with cosmetic products.

According to Kline, record numbers of consumers taking to the internet to make purchases has seen online beauty purchases spike by a record 200 per cent since 2006.

Although residents' incomes tend to be lower in small towns and counties, for every 100 yuan spent online; 57 yuan has been attributed to shoppers in third- and fourth-tier cities, greater than the national average of 39 yuan.

ln fact, the rural market will be worth 460 billion yuan ($74 billion) in 2016. 

E-retailers like Taobao and Alibaba have caught on to this and are actively investing in growing these numbers. 

Out-buying despite lower incomes

According to Taobao, Yiwu is the richest county in China, with online spending totaling 3.4 billion yuan.

Residents in Qingliu county in southeast China's Fujian province spent a staggering 20,151 yuan, or 72.55 per cent of their combined income on online shopping in 2013, while in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the ratio has yet to exceed 27 per cent.

The findings also showed that 22 per cent of Taobao customers in small towns used its mobile application to shop online. But the percentage declined to 17 per cent in first- and second-tier cities.

In terms of the most popular brands, the online retailer says major international players like Estee Lauder have sold well in counties and townships with consumers spending an average of 765 yuan a piece, slightly more than the 652 yuan spent by first- and second-tier city residents.

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