Some critical data

Recently, a report that Accenture released said that the global B2C e-Commerce market in recent years has grown rapidly, and it will remain close to 14% annual growth rate in the coming years. Size of transactions will grow from $ 1.6 trillion in 2014 to $ 3.4 trillion in 2020. Among them, the global cross-border B2C e-Commerce grew up strongly with 27% annual growth rate that will make the global market size of $230 billion in 2014 rise to nearly $1 trillion in 2020. By then, the total number of cross-border B2C e-Commerce consumers will be more than 900 million than 309 million in 2014 which means an annual increase of more than 21%, forming a group of powerful digital consumer force.

In terms of no matter size or growth, it seems that the Asia-Pacific region will be the main market in the coming years. Cross-border B2C market is entering a rapid growth period; turnover growth in the coming years will be mainly drove by the growing number of cross-border consumer. Faced with the rise of new digital consumer force, many e-Commerce companies are making business model innovation and adopting various strategies to gain the fields of consumers. This activity will in turn stimulate the demand of cross-border consuming.

And in China, Overseas shopping by Chinese consumers through the Internet, which analysts say generated more than 100 billion yuan in sales in 2014 and maybe 200 billion in 2015. And by estimate, cross-border B2C e-Commerce will pushed up the average annual growth rate of consumer goods import nearly 4 percentage points in 2014–2020 interval. By 2020, China will become the world’s largest cross-border B2C e-Commerce market.

In addition to this forecast, the data show that over the past year, 35% of Chinese online shoppers have at least one time oversea purchase in 2015, an increase of 9% compared with 2014. This data is from report of Paypal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2015 released by the US online payment company PayPal and research company Ipsos.

This shows that besides demonstrating the strong spending power when travelling abroad, Chinese consumers also have a big potential in oversea shopping which cannot be underestimated.

About China oversea shoppers’ preferences and characteristics

According to Nielsen’s research,while still a relatively new phenomenon, 32% of Chinese respondents said they purchased overseas goods online. But not all products have the same international appeal. Apparel, accessories and handbags (43%) are the top categories for overseas purchases, followed by cosmetics and personal care products (41%) and mother-and-baby goods (30%).

Many are turning to the web for ease of use. 75% of respondents said convenience and time saving were key drivers for buying online. In addition, 59% of Chinese-mainland respondents said they enjoyed the ease of browsing through different collections on the Internet.

In general, Chinese consumers represent a significant part of the worldwide luxury market, with a trend towards becoming more demanding and sophisticated shoppers. And it’s many of these well-off, luxury-seeking shoppers who are turning to the web to find the highest-quality items.

Nearly 40% of overseas shoppers are between 26 and 30 years old, and 60% state they have a monthly household income of more than 11,000 Yuan (US$1,800). Compared to their male counterparts, Chinese women are showing more enthusiasm for buying overseas products online: they make up 57% of overseas online purchasers.

How can you reach the overseas Chinese online shopper?

Digital is increasingly the first touch point in shoppers’ buying decisions. When deciding where to purchase online, the study found that Chinese consumers rely on online research prior to making a purchase. And they’re on the hunt for specific qualities, looking for online retailers with reviews that indicate they are “reliable” and that they offer “reasonable price” and “good-quality products.”

Social media is also an increasingly important platform for brands, both global and local, to build trust with the Chinese consumer. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 60% of Chinese shoppers have visited social media platforms and reviewed users’ recommendations on independent online platforms as the main source for their purchase plans. Over 40% of the online Chinese shoppers surveyed said they were willing to share their experiences with new products through WeChat and other instant messaging tools.

Consumers are increasingly using social media recommendations to go to shopping sites. In 2015, 23% of online shoppers are entering online shopping sites through links shared by friends, up from 12% in 2014. And this is part of a larger global trend with consumers placing higher value on suggestions from social platforms.

As a result, social media can be an efficient way for manufacturers and retailers to reach Chinese shoppers.