Next March, Otte, a small boutique chain in New York City, will open up a store in Shanghai — its first outside of the East Coast of the U.S. The reason? Over 50 percent of Otte’s online customers are Chinese, residing in either the U.S. or in China.
The success of Otte with its Chinese customers speaks to the importance of social media for fashion brands. Since starting their Weibo account from 4 years ago, Otte’s following is now comparable to other bigger ecommerce sites, such as, Shopbop and Revolve.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc has taken full ownership of Chinese e-commerce firm, Yihaodian.com, by buying out the remaining 49 percent stake that it did not already own.
The investment is intended to help Wal-Mart target China’s fast-growing online market at a time when largely brick and mortar retailers are feeling the pinch of competition from online rivals and a slowing of the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s rapidly diversifying Internet giants are taking on Western food chains at their own game—door-to-door delivery—and finding a huge appetite among urban consumers.
Startup companies Ele.me and Meituan Waimai, which operate via mobile applications and are backed respectively by Tencent and Alibaba, are getting economy of scale by teaming up with tens of thousands of food outlets across China.
The services are attracting investment and following similar moves by Internet companies to dominate the market for everything from cinema tickets to taxi rides. Food sales running through the startups reached 97.5 billion yuan ($15.7 billion) last year, up 54% from 2013, according to research firm iResearch.
McKinsey’s iConsumer China 2015 survey tapped into the behaviors and desires of China’s 630 million Internet users, across different city tiers and throughout rural areas. The research shows robust growth in social commerce, a trend toward transforming physical retailers into mere ‘showrooms’, and mounting consumer enthusiasm for more online-to-offline (O2O) services.
Here are a few interesting statistics:
30 percent of consumer perform online mobile research while shopping in stores, of which, 16 percent bought products from that store while 45 percent bought the same products from other online stores
72 percent of respondents expressed interest in purchasing online and being able to return offline
Consumers were eager to see more O2O offerings in entertainment, healthcare and housing/car services
The most frequently purchased category online was packaged food, with an average of 34 purchases made per year
Yongda, a leading Chinese luxury auto service provider listed in Hong Kong, will sell cars online through Alibaba’s Tmall platform, a move that comes as the mainland fever for pricey wheels cools.
The two giants will allow customers across the nation to buy a car at a single price and pick it up at the nearest Yongda shop, the two companies announced on Wednesday.
According to Wang Licheng, Alibaba’s general manager of automobile business, Alibaba would also offer zero-interest loans to buyers depending on their previous credit record with Tmall and its sister platform, Taobao.
Leading global fast food chains McDonald’s and KFC are both in the headlines as we head into the heart of summer, each trying new high-tech approaches to reignite their faltering China stories. KFC’s deal will see it pair up with Alibaba to offer its affiliated Alipay electronic payments service at hundreds of its China stores. The McDonald’s news is similarly high-tech, and will see the chain extend its new state-of-the-art hamburger customization program to the China market.
According to the reports, the alliance has seen KFC recently start to accept Alipay for electronic payments at 700 of its stores in Shanghai and nearby Zhejiang province. It plans to extend the program to the rest of its 4,500 China stores nationwide, as part of a campaign by both partners to build up their online-to-offline (O2O) businesses that brings together traditional retailers and Internet-based service providers.
In a recent consumer survey report published by CBRE, over 50% of consumers in Asia Pacific still visit a shop to make a purchase. However, online shopping has overtaken bricks-and-mortar retail as the most popular method of purchase in a few markets, most notably South Korea and Taiwan, where 73% and 55% of consumers said their primary method of purchase was online.
According to the survey, convenience and price are the major considerations for consumers shopping online. Survey respondents also mentioned that the ability to compare products was a catalyst for them to shop online.
According to a recent report released by PWC, 85 percent of Chinese consumers chose a digital channel when researching a new product or purchase. 86 percent of Chinese respondents (compared with 68 percent of global respondents) said they had intentionally gone to a physical store to check out a product before purchasing it on the web.
Last year, domestic consumers in China purchased online goods and services worth 2.8 trillion yuan (US$451.7 billion), an increase of almost 50 per cent on the year before.
Wal-Mart is ratcheting down its ambitions in China, after years of watching its growth stymied by the challenge of quickly opening large numbers of stores across the country.
Wal-Mart said in February that its fourth-quarter net sales in China fell 0.7% from a year earlier, and same-store sales dropped 2.3%. Despite being one of the earliest investors into the online space in China, the company has lagged behind its competitors in recent years. Wal-Mart was one of the first retailers to set up online in China; in 2012 it acquired a majority stake in e-commerce site Yihaodian. However, Yihaodian accounts for a mere 1.4% of online transactions, while Alibaba holds a 61.4% share, according to market-research firm iResearch.
In May, Wal-Mart will be rolling out an app in China that enables shoppers to order goods on their phones and either pick them up in a store or have them delivered by Wal-Mart’s own employees.