Against a backdrop of dire predictions for another downturn in the global economy, China's burgeoning e-commerce market must appear to be an increasingly tempting alternative for overseas retailers looking to bolster their bottom lines.
A digital marketing firm recently estimated that 27% of China's online shoppers are spending between $157 and $471 through the Web each year, with almost every online category registering double-digit growth annually.
Acquity Group, a brand-consulting firm based in Chicago, surveyed over 1,000 online shoppers from more than 150 Chinese cities. In their report, they highlighted some of the emerging trends from the country's e-commerce market.
In terms of shopping habits, they found that over 42% of respondents use Taobao to find new retailers, followed by 18% through friends and 11% from BBS (bulletin-board sites). Alipay was the preferred method of payment for 69% of shoppers surveyed.
In the same report, Acquity also stressed the importance of managing the innumerable risks that comes with operating in China, and cited Groupon's experience as an example of a foreign firm that failed to understand the market they had entered. Gaopeng, Groupon's joint venture with Tencent, currently lags far behind rival coupon sites in China and has reportedly closed many of its offices.