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    Ecommerce Saves the Day for Retailers in China According to New Report

    The report shows that retailers should be preparing for an even bigger Singles’ Day in 2021.

    By Robert Cameron - Mar 3, 2021
    Ecommerce Saves the Day for Retailers in China According to New Report

    Image credit: CardMapr, Unsplash

    According to Peak Selling and The Pandemic, a new report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce which surveyed over 6,000 online consumers in China, the UK, and the US, online shopping surged in China last year as the pandemic forced the closure of brick and mortar shops throughout the nation. Ecommerce sales ballooned by 11% in 2020, making up 25% of total retail sales.*

    53% of consumers said that their Chinese New Year celebrations would have been impossible without online shopping. Families were forced to cancel big gatherings altogether, with more than half (63%) of consumers claiming that Covid-19 ruined their celebrations.

    Similarly, China’s Singles’ Day, which has grown into one of the shopping events of the year thanks in large part to Alibaba, saw over two-thirds (68%) of total spending done online versus only 32% in-store.

    Over six in 10 (62%) shoppers in China saying they intend to spend more this year and even more of this spend is expected to be through online channels (93%).

    “The cadence of marketing activities and launch of new products need to be timed to build stronger top of mind, eventually leading to higher traffic during peaks like Singles Day.”

    The report also stated that spending, in general, was down during the peak periods. One-third of those interviewed stated that they instead put money into savings.

    “Whether retailers liked it or not, they had to pivot ‘peak’ plans in 2020,” said Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

    “And when it came to Singles Day and Chinese New Year, most were forced to adopt a digital-only mindset for what has come to be the busiest and most profitable peaks in the year. For some, this was an easy change as they had been reaping the benefits of online for years. For others, Covid-19 was a shock to the system that caused a complete overhaul of strategy.

    “What’s clear is 2020 changed peak retail forever and perhaps retail generally– consumer behavior shifted more than retailers could have anticipated and the expectation for an unbeatable, affordable service is even higher now. Companies like Tmall and Taobao have been mastering peak periods well before the pandemic stole the headlines, so it’s vital other retailers aren’t left behind by continuing to innovate, investing in the back-end and listening to what customers need.”

    As the Chinese economy improves retailers that rely on Singles Day and Chinese New Year for survival, should be planning for 2021. Over two-thirds (71%) of shoppers think that retailers should be better prepared for these periods.

    “Brands will also need to look at their approach to peak periods more holistically against their annual marketing calendar,” said James Bay, Managing Partner, Commerce at Wunderman Thompson China.

    “The cadence of marketing activities and launch of new products need to be timed to build stronger top of mind, eventually leading to higher traffic during peaks like Singles Day.”

    A glance at the UK and US

    What’s more, 57% of UK shoppers and 59% of US shoppers had their Christmas and Thanksgiving disrupted by Covid-19, while 68% of Christmas shopping in the UK and 61% of Christmas shopping in the US was online in 2020; the UK figure was slightly higher (68%), likely due to the stricter coronavirus restrictions.

    For more details and to download the full report please click here.
    *According to China Internet Watch

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