Online Shopping in China

For those who have been to China but have not tried online shopping, they haven’t really been to China. Online shopping is probably the fastest growing industry in China. Here are some numbers to testify that:

  • In 2012, online sales counts for 5.5% of all domestic retail trade in China; whereas in the U.S. the figure is 5.1%. Chinese love online shopping more than Americans!
  • On Nov. 11, 2012, the sales on Taobao & Tmall (both belongs to Alibaba) reached 19.1 Billion CNY ($3.12 billion), dwarfing American’s Cyber Monday sales, which totaled $1.5 billion. And that $3.12 billion went to just one company in on day!
  • In 2012, online sales totaled $212.4 billion, playing a catching up with the U.S., where online sales totaled $228.7 in 2012.
  • The industry was growing by 75.3%, 66.3% and 48.5% in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

If the above figures do not impress you, consider this scenario: on Monday morning you go to work and one of your colleagues recommends you a lipstick that she finds excellent. You go to your favorite online shopping website and added the lipstick to your shopping cart and check out without really paying for it, choosing to pay when the lipstick is delivered to you. Then you continue working and have lunch. After lunch the delivery guy showed up and your lipstick is here. You pay for it and you just bought a lipstick and are already trying it!

That was not exaggerating at all, especially if you live in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. If you happens to live in smaller cities like I do, I still get most of my purchases within 10-24 hours. I usually buy books at night and the next morning they’re delivered to me. That’s probably I bought a lot of books! When I was living in Finland, the delivery often takes days, if not weeks. You will definitely feel the difference the first time you try online shopping in China.

But the fast delivery is not the only reason why online shopping is popular in China, most people buy stuff online because it’s convenient and you can compare things. And often you have many choices. Online stores ofter many different models for the same product. Different stores sell different things. And you can literally find everything you need online. Clothes, shoes, books, tickets? Of course! Meat, vegetables, eggs? Why not? Gold, investments, Cars, apartments, helicopters? No problem, how many do you want? OK, you made your point. How about boyfriends and girlfriends? Hell yeah, pay now and you’ll have one tomorrow!

Besides, things are cheap online, even if you count in delivery fees. Clothes are sold from a few dollars to a few hundred. Most are of good quality. And if you are not satisfied, you can most likely ask for a refund. Most stuff sold online are warranted. What? Chinese only make cheap crappy stuff? Jesus, from whom do you hear that from? Your grandma? Well, we may have different standards for “crappy stuff”, but I do believe most things are more than worthy of the money you paid for.

I’m not here to persuade anyone to try online shopping in China, but I assure you if you do, you’ll be amazed. I was amazed when I first come back from a few years of stay in the Nordics. If you ask me for advice, there just one: check your credit card regularly so that you do not shop too much!

Anyway, bellow are the top online stores in China. They are mostly in Chinese and you should ask your Chinese friends for help.

http://www.taobao.com/ and http://www.tmall.com/, they are the largest online shopping store in China, both belonging to Alibaba. Taobao is mainly C2C and Tmall is mainly B2C. Often stuff on Tmall are also available on Taobao, but Tmall stuff usually are of better quality.

http://www.jd.com/, the second largest online store, mainly B2C. Best known for its fast delivery.

http://www.yihaodian.com/, online supermarket. Meat, vegetables, seasoning stuff, imported food, etc.

Happy shopping!