The Right Verdict
Advancing the rule of law can help put an end to miscarriages of justice
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Top Story
Top Story
UPDATED: April 2, 2015 NO. 2 JANUARY 10, 2013
The Power of the She-conomy
The popularity of online shopping among Chinese women offers plenty of business opportunities
By Zhou Xiaoyan

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Vipshop Holdings Ltd. representatives celebrate their listing on the New York Stock Exchange on March 23, 2012. The website dedicates itself to providing discounted brand products to Chinese female shoppers (AN XIYA)

Yao Jianfang, an assistant analyst with China E-commerce Research Center, said his observations suggest women are more likely to be addicted to online shopping than men.

"They would sit in front of the computer browsing websites for hours. They wouldn't leave the desk even when their eyes are very sore. They couldn't help themselves but buying items that are on sale, even if they don't need them at all," Yao said.

"It's especially true for single women. Some of them use online shopping as a substitute for a relationship and try to fill their empty emotional world with a wide variety of products."

Overseas, mobile and social

Chinese women seem to have increasing preference for foreign products, with many seeing products from abroad as superior.

According to the EIU report, a growing number of Chinese women shop online specifically to get products from overseas, and 63 percent of Chinese women polled said they bought products from abroad because they were better than those produced domestically.

This perceived quality gap is partially a result of the safety problems that have plagued China's supply chain at regular intervals in recent years.

"Quality and trust are the fundamental issues (Chinese brands) face. If they want to be successful, they need to know how to grow beyond their own market. A lot of Chinese brands are well known on the Chinese mainland but not known in the global market," said Linda Du, Shanghai managing director of communications and strategy firm APCO Worldwide. "That really limits their strength and power because consumers definitely want products that have a global reputation."

Du said foreign brands that target Chinese women should know how to tell good stories behind the brands.

"English language skills of people from the Chinese mainland are much better than before. They travel around the globe and they're more adapted to foreign culture, so if you're able to tell good stories, if they can learn stories from either global platforms or their friends and they buy into your brand stories … that will influence their purchasing decisions," Du suggested.

Placing orders with mobile devices--smartphones and tablets--has become a general trend since the popularization of those devices in 2010, testifying that an economic force is taking shape in the mobile market.

The EIU report says the future of online shopping is mobile. Among all respondents, 58 percent of the youngest (18-29) demographic surveyed shop online with their smartphones at home, versus 38 percent of 40-49 years old. Women from the Chinese mainland are more active shoppers on mobile devices.

According to statistics from Analysys International, a leading business information provider in China, the value of transactions through mobile shopping in China totaled 210.32 billion yuan ($34.34 billion) in the third quarter of 2014, up 238.7 percent year on year. By now, the transactions have maintained a quarterly growth rate of more than 200 percent for seven consecutive quarters, surging 10 times within the past two years.

The EIU report also says women from the Chinese mainland see online shopping as a communal practice.

Elisabeth de Gramont, group account director of Jigsaw Communispace, a business consultancy, said brand knowledge is almost a form of social currency on the Chinese mainland.

"Chinese women view shopping in general as a social activity," she said. "There is a very important social media element to online shopping, such as customer reviews and reviews of other like-minded women, because that's really what they trust most. Successful e-commerce websites should have a social component because women do like sharing with their friends, but also being able to have some sort of community or discussion about the product and what they're buying brings a lot of quality assurance," she suggested.

Liu Ying, the 28-year-old website editor, agreed, adding that communications about stuff bought online have become a daily ritual in her office.

"Every time anyone buys something online and the product is delivered to our company, we would surround the person and check the quality of the product," she said. "If it's good, we would ask for the link and all rush to buy it." 

Email us at: zhouxiaoyan@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2  

Top Story
-Online Shopping Carnival
-The Power of the She-conomy
-The Finer Details of Interest
-A Small Bank Makes a Big Difference
-The 'Diamond' Decade
Related Stories
-Online Shopping Carnival
-Picking Up the Slack
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved