More Than 250 Million Chinese Will Shop Online by 2014

For retailers considering how to expand internationally, market research is an integral starting point before making cohesive plans. Soon, one of the largest emerging markets in online retail will be within reach for Australians, with Forrester predicting that 511 million Chinese consumers will be online by 2014. Over half that number will be making purchases in online retail.

The new Forrester report, entitled ‘Understanding China: The Opportunities And Challenges’  is based on a survey of 3,600 Chinese consumers living in the country’s major urban centres, therefore providing useful analysis of a market that could prove viable for Australian retailers to ship to, especially if the Australian dollar remains below parity.

Key highlights from the report:

  • 85% of Chinese consumers prefer to purchase or use foreign brands when considering luxury goods, because they believe they offer superior quality and are safer
  • 75% say they are loyal to brands if they find one they like, however rapid changes in this emerging market means any ‘loyalty indicators’ are less fixed than in stable Western markets
  • 54% are classified by Forrester as ‘technology optimists’, meaning they believe technology will have a positive impact on their lives – a higher statistic than found in the US (49%)
  • Mobile penetration is high at 92%, which is higher than Europe (91%) and the US (77%). 85 percent of these consumers are classified as ‘super connected’, which Forrester defines as using advanced features on their mobile phone weekly.
  • Online penetration has leapt 61% in the last five years. Currently, 79% of Chinese consumers are online and nearly all of these go online once a day, spending 24 hours on average each week.

Forrester Analyst Reineke Reitsma authored the report and also provides further analysis in a new blog post.

“Companies often miss the wave, or miscalculate the peak of the wave, because it took them too long to set a strategy,” Reitsma says. “Be as accurate as you can when predicting the size of the market and developing a strategy for your expansion into China, but don’t take too long. This market changes so rapidly that your plans will never be up to date.”

For further information on what to consider when planning your e-commerce venture’s international expansion, see Power Retail’s Special Report #21: Growing Globally.

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