According to the market research firm, whose recent ‘Haitao Retailing’ report looked at ecommerce trends in the country, “as more and more Chinese consumers shop online and travel overseas, many are interested in buying foreign products online.”
The research reveals that three in five (58%) Chinese consumers bought foreign products online from domestic shopping website in the six month period ending November 2015, with South Korea (47%), Japan (29%) and France (27%) the top three countries attracting beauty product purchases.
Quality and price
According to the report, cross-border ecommerce grew at a higher CAGR than digital retail more generally (63.3% and 48.8% respectively) in 2015, and Mintel expects this trend to continue.
With Chinese consumers evidently willing to shop around, the research firm forecasts the market will achieve 18% CAGR in the four year period up to 2020, compared with total retail sales growing at a rate of about 6.3%.
Although it provides great sales opportunities, cross-border ecommerce is an increasingly competitive arena due to its truly global scale, and brands will need to be increasingly responsive to consumer demand.
The report highlights that quality of products (63%) and prices (38%) are the top concerns for Chinese consumers shopping for imported products online.
An opportunity for niche brands
Commenting on the report for the firm’s blog, Matthew Crabbe, APAC research director at Mintel, explained that ecommerce in the country will open up opportunities particularly for smaller brands.
“The future outlook for ‘haitao’ shopping looks good. However, it is an increasingly competitive market. Brands need to stand out by offering something different,” Crabbe explains.
“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.”