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News Demand for imported goods grows among cross-border shoppers

Consumers check ski equipment at a shopping mall in Beijing, January 2, 2023. [PHOTO by ZHAO JUN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

According to industry insiders, Chinese consumers have strong purchasing power for exquisite and high-end consumer goods, and consumption of imported and foreign brand products has become an important driving force for consumption upgrades.

Li Yanchuan, head of Amazon China’s global store opening and Prime, said, “Chinese young consumers, especially Generation Z, have the ability to think and judge independently when choosing brands. They prefer to pursue niche lifestyles and personalized products.”

Li said that the “stay-at-home economy” has activated more consumption scenarios and demands, and purchasing healthy and quality living products has become the new normal.

“Beauty, personal care and clothing have been the most popular categories for consumers to shop online cross-border,” he added.

In recent years, sales of outdoor sports products such as fishing, skiing, and camping have grown rapidly, and demand for virtual reality equipment, pour-over coffee products, and uniquely designed tableware and kitchen utensils has been increasing, Li said.

Orders for online cross-border shopping are still mainly concentrated in first-tier cities, he added. However, the purchasing power of residents in second- and third-tier cities has shown a trend of rapid growth. Li said Amazon will further enrich the cross-border shopping scene based on consumers with similar interests.

In order to better meet the needs of Chinese consumers for imported goods, the first front-end bonded warehouse of Amazon’s global store will be put into operation in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province this year.

In 2021, China will become the largest market in Amazon’s global store opening business, with sales increasing by more than 9 times compared to 2015.

The company stepped up its localization efforts in China with the launch of WeChat Mini Programs in 2019. The program is dedicated to creating a social commerce experience for Chinese consumers, covering areas such as live broadcasting, social media networking and content.

In recent years, cross-border e-commerce in China has grown exponentially. Statistics from the General Administration of Customs show that the import and export scale of such e-commerce will reach 1.98 trillion yuan ($292.8 billion) in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 15%.

“In recent years, the penetration rate of cross-border e-commerce in lower-tier cities and towns has increased. Chinese consumers’ demand for diversified, personalized and niche products is increasing,” said Chen Tao, an analyst at Beijing-based Internet consulting firm Analysys. outside.”

Online shopping through live streaming is very popular among post-80s and post-90s consumers, Chen added.

According to a report by the Chinese e-commerce platform Consumer and Industry Development Research Institute, imported brands such as mobile phones, personal care, cosmetics, watches, glasses, maternal and child products, and nutritional health products are popular among Chinese shoppers.

People aged 26-35 are the main consumers of imported products, accounting for nearly 50% of all age groups. In addition, consumers between the ages of 46 and 55 have seen the fastest growth in buying imported products.

During last year’s Singles’ Day shopping carnival, imported goods were favored by consumers. Within the first 10 minutes of the promotion, which started at 8:00 pm on October 30, the turnover of goods in’s virtual country pavilion increased by more than 12 times year-on-year, covering overseas brands from more than 90 countries.

Liu Hui, director of JD Consumer and Industry Development Research Institute, said that overseas brands should pay more attention to low-tier cities, accelerate digital transformation, design and launch more different products, and better meet the diverse needs of consumers.

Market consulting company iiMedia Consulting said that as China further expands its opening up, logistics distribution is gradually improved, and people’s income continues to increase, the demand for imported goods will continue to increase, providing a greater boost to consumption upgrades.

Zhang Tianbing, head of Deloitte Asia Pacific consumer goods and retail industry, said: “With the expansion of domestic demand and the advancement of emerging retail technologies, China has introduced preferential policies, such as lowering import tariffs and expanding the range of goods allowed to be imported. Despite the outbreak of COVID-19 The pandemic has nonetheless prompted a surge in cross-border e-commerce imports, underscoring a period of rapid growth in the country’s imported goods market.

The upsurge of celebrity live broadcasts has stimulated cross-border e-commerce purchases by domestic consumers. In addition, overseas brands are turning to cross-border e-commerce platforms as they expand their distribution channels following the disruption of offline retail, Zhang said.

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