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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 29, 2013

Chinese online shoppers on verge of becoming world leaders

Shopping habits are changing in China. Half of the country's population now has direct access to the Internet, and 80% of those users own a smartphone or tablet.

by Helen Leggatt

Research by global business consulting firm Bain & Co. reveals that growth in online spending in China averaged 71% between 2009 and 2012. Last year, consumer spending hit $212.4 billion, not far off that in the U.S. which hit $228.7 billion.

Its total size is expected to reach $539.07 billion by 2015.

"It's a massive change. It just means you need to be on the web, whether you like it or not," said Serge Hoffmann, a partner at Bain & Co. and co-author of the report, via Reuters, "whether you're an online player or an offline player, you need to have a meaningful, credible presence on the web."

According to research earlier this year by MasterCard, Chinese Internet users are now less likely to be concerned about security while shopping online with just 21.4% harboring concerns in 2012 compared to 32.8% the previous year. Online shopping was also viewed as "easy" among the majority of Chinese respondents (89.5%), an increase from 2011 (80.8%).

Bain & Co. say the rise in ecommerce can be attributed, in part, to costly land and labor costs in China. While it's easy to set up an online store in the country, setting up a physical store is too expensive, and is eating into companies margins.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: China, ecommerce, global business, online shopping

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