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Despite all indications that online channels are gaining ground, China’s urban consumers are still, at their core, pragmatic shoppers. This means they frequent both brick-and-mortar and online shops to make their purchases, and increasingly expect a seamless experience when navigating these two worlds.
The growth in online shopping is phenomenal, but traditional supermarkets and department stores still reign supreme. Citing convenience, comfort, and a wide selection, 84 percent and 62 percent of respondents rank supermarkets and department stores, respectively, as their primary shopping destinations.
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Accenture research confirms that traditional and eShopping are not mutually exclusive endeavors. Urban consumers in China, as elsewhere, are using both channels to create a seamless and more reassuring experience. Urban consumers see value in both worlds and regularly step from one to the other. Consumer packaged goods companies that ignore one or the other in their marketing efforts do so at their own peril.
China’s urban consumers remain very pragmatic shoppers, leveraging multiple channels before they purchase, and expecting an omni-channel experience.
About 75 percent of urban consumers compare prices online and offline before purchasing big-ticket items. More than half venture to physical stores to assess products in person before buying them online. There are a number of reasons these consumers are wary of purchasing products directly online without examining the quality or other pricing options. Concerns over product quality top the list by a large margin.
In 2013, China’s online shopping sales accounted for RMB1.85 trillion (US$303 billion) – about 7.8 percent – of total retailing volume. That was an increase of 1.6 percent from 2012. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, online shopping sales grew over 22 percent faster than department stores, supermarkets and boutique shops.
Nearly 80 percent of Internet shoppers buy online at least once a month and more than a third do so weekly. Apparel, payments (for things like mobile phone charges or concert tickets), and travel are the three hottest Internet product categories. The younger the consumer and the larger the city, the more frequently they carry out online purchasing.
July 22, 2014
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