Chinese ecommerce: how brands are exploiting the O2O trend

Low Lai Chow

Shoppers in China are no longer simply catching up with their overseas counterparts when it comes to ecommerce: in many ways, they are setting new standards and demanding unique solutions from brands.

In the case of many consumers in the country, rising affluence and increasing digital savvy are trends that have essentially worked hand-in-hand. Indeed, of its 600 million internet users, fully 42% currently shop online, according to figures from the 2014 WPP BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands study.

James Galpin, director of Millward Brown's media practice for Africa and Asia Pacific, suggested ecommerce in China is similar to the US in terms of its share of total retail sales, on 6–7%. The category, however, has been expanding at an annual rate of around 85% in China, compared with figures of 10–15% in America. This rapid progress has been prompted by widening internet access, and the underdeveloped physical retail environment in many parts of the world's most populous nation.