China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest online-retailing market in 2016, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Colin Light, PwC mainland China and Hong Kong digital consulting leader, said China’s e-commerce trade will grow to 3.6 trillion yuan (US$ 578.57 billion) and account for 10.8 percent of the retail trade in the country in 2016, compared with 7 percent in the US.
The firm also said it polled more than 15,000 online shoppers in 15 territories, including 900 respondents in China, on their buying habits. One in seven Chinese consumers said they shopped online every day — compared with 5 percent elsewhere — and more than 60 percent shopped weekly, roughly three times the average in other parts of the world.
And one in four Chinese consumers shop on a mobile device at least once a week, compared with 9 percent for global respondents.
“China is more advanced in its use of mobile in the shopping experience than arguably anywhere else in the world, yet few retailers are bringing a digital experience to the physical store,” Light said.
“It is critical to bring the benefit of e-commerce, [online-to-offline shopping] in a bricks-and-mortar environment, and social media together to create more engaging shopping experiences.”
The survey findings also suggest that modern consumers do not just want to shop—they want to be heard, PwC said.
“More than 90 percent of the China respondents and 55 percent of our global respondents provided either positive or negative comments about their experiences with a product or brand on social media,” Light said.
“This means that customers will spread the word if they feel strongly enough about a brand.”
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