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Chinese are keen to buy from abroad

News, 08 December 2014

SHANGHAI: Chinese internet shoppers, especially women and younger consumers, are enthusiastic about buying products from overseas, an online survey has revealed.

Nielsen, the research firm, polled 4,500 adult internet users from 14 major Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in China and found nearly a third (32%) purchase overseas goods online.

A majority (57%) of these overseas shoppers are women, nearly 40% are aged between 26 and 30, and 60% say they have a monthly household income of more than 11,000 Yuan, or $1,800.

With over 600m Chinese consumers already online in a market valued at an estimated 100bn Yuan, or about $16.3bn, the report said their openness to foreign products is good news for retailers and manufacturers.

John Burbank, Nielsen's president of strategic initiatives, said: "These shoppers offer a major opportunity that US-based and global retailers and manufacturers cannot afford to ignore."

Convenience and time-saving are key drivers for three-quarters of these Chinese consumers to buy online, the report found, while 59% say they enjoy the ease of browsing through different collections on the internet.

Apparel, accessories and handbags (43%) are their top choices, followed by cosmetics and personal care products (41%), and mother-and-baby goods (30%).

Other research from Nielsen, its Mainland Chinese Luxury Shopper survey, also confirmed findings from numerous other studies that good quality and reliability, characteristics often associated with foreign goods, are of high importance for Chinese online shoppers.

Over half (56%) cite "quality" as a top consideration for luxury goods, another 46% say they associate luxury goods with "fine design" while 42% say buying luxury goods can provide a sense of "taste" and "difference".

The report also found that of those who have already bought online, or who are ready to try, 90% intend to buy luxury goods online over the next 12 months.

The appeal of online overseas shopping for Chinese consumers was underlined recently by the positive reaction to offers from Amazon and other US retailers during Black Friday, China Daily reported.

The shopping bonanza, imported to China for the first time this year, saw several high-end US brands – including Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue – using Alipay, the payment service affiliated Alibaba, to offer promotions.

Data sourced from Nielsen, China Daily; additional content by Warc staff