Women, reforms drive China ecommerce

26 September 2014

BEIJING: Women are a major reason for the boom in China's ecommerce which is set to be given a further boost by customs reforms making it easier for them to shop overseas.

A report from Minsheng Securities highlighted the fact that women are responsible for more than 60% of general goods purchases made online in China, while 70% of all people involved in group buying online in China are women.

Want China Times further pointed out that women constituted a minority of the country's internet users, at 44% of the total, and had a higher average online spend.

Consequently, women are shaping the future of internet and mobile spending with their preferences. Beauty products, for example, already rank among the best-selling items online.

Minsheng attributed the rise of the "she-economy" to the "liberation of women's self-consciousness by the internet" and expected that online marketing would increasingly be aimed towards this group.

Overseas brands are likely to be joining the scramble to reach China's women as a series of customs reforms promotes foreign trade and cross-border ecommerce.

In the latest development in this area, southern city Guangzhou is allowing ecommerce companies to simultaneously register overseas orders with customs, so that tariff collection and other procedures can be sped up as the goods go through clearing.

Luo Shuang, a director at discount retailer Vip.com, told Xinhua that buying from overseas was beset by irregularities and legal problems, but the new arrangements were welcome.

"After the grey areas are cleared, Chinese consumers' satisfaction with cross-border online shopping will see a significant rise, and so will their demand for global brands and quality goods," she said.

Leading online retailers have noted the direction of travel, with Amazon last month announcing plans to open a cross-border ecommerce service in China to connect Chinese shoppers to its global sales network and grow direct-purchase imports.

Data sourced from Want China Times, Xinhua; additional content by Warc staff