It’s been a whirlwind year for China’s e-commerce sector. All markets and industries have struggled under the weight of coronavirus. The only exception – e-commerce. In the first half of 2020, China’s online retail sales totalled 5,150.1 billion yuan (US$727.36 billion), up 7.3% year-on-year. That means China’s e-commerce sales are now a quarter of the country’s total retail sales.
Against that backdrop, here’s a summary of key, new developments in China e-commerce in the first half of 2020:
- Tencent has unveiled a new tool to make it even easier for merchants to build virtual shops on its popular WeChat messaging service. The new tool, called WeChat Minishop, will allow a vendor to create an e-commerce store inside WeChat using Tencent’s tool instead of relying on expensive developers or other third party platforms. “Minishops” will support livestreaming and provide merchants with features such as order management services, transactions, logistics, and after-sales support.
- To stimulate consumption, new shopping festivals, such as Shanghai’s 55 Shopping Festival, have been added to already extensive China e-commerce calendar. The 55 shopping festival, which included online and offline initiatives, pulled in US$2.2 billion of sales in the first 24 hours.
- Alibaba announced plans to bring 1000 new overseas brands to China in 2020. This is a huge commitment from Alibaba and Tmall Global focused on getting the best the world has to offer to Chinese consumers.
- Pinduoduo, China’s third-largest e-commerce platform by transaction volume, unveiled a livestreaming feature. E-commerce revenue through livestreaming is set to double in 2020 to $135 billion, according to iiMedia Research. Livestream e-commerce has been covered by our team here and is a clear trend that will be around for a while.
- Immediate responses to the coronavirus outbreak, which included contactless delivery solutions, online migration of services like gym classes and conferences, and digital transformation to turn retail sales assistants into online sellers.
So, in a changing e-commerce landscape, what do you need to do?
- First, subscribe to the AgencyChina newsletter to get all these e-commerce updates (and more), delivered straight to your inbox.
- If you’re new to the China market, consider which commerce marketplace (Alibaba, JD, Pinduoduo, Kaola or RED) might be right for you to launch. You can request a free consultation with one of our experts to walk you through some of the considerations.
- If you’re already in the China market with a presence on an e-commerce marketplace, then take the time to consider what your next steps might be. To add additional online distribution channels, a stronger approach to e-commerce festivals, a product portfolio revamp or more community commerce. You can request a free consultation with one of our experts to walk you through some of the considerations.