The new year of 2020 is almost around the corner! The world might be preparing for their new year’s resolutions. But for the Asian community around the world, they are gearing up and going full force on Chinese New Year preparations instead. The Chinese New Year marks the start of the Spring festival, a two week long celebration marking the beginning of a new season that will be happening on January 25th 2020. For businesses, Chinese New Year presents a prime opportunity to reach out to a large consumer group that will shop till they drop this season.
We begin with one of the world’s biggest, fastest growing markets with more than 1.4 billion Chinese across the globe; China is the new land of opportunities. With this in mind, businesses and retailers have to grab the bull by the horns and seize the day or miss out on penetrating a huge audience market.
Although Chinese New Year lasts for a week or two, many factories and businesses shut down about 10 days before Chinese New Year to allow time for workers to travel home. There is a rush to ship products out of ports before the country shuts down for the celebrations. This can lead to increased freight costs and longer transit times if there is a delay at port or a container is not loaded on its intended vessel.
So how can eCommerce retailers leverage this opportunity to reach out to online consumers?
China is the world’s largest eCommerce market with over 50% of global eCommerce transactions coming from the country itself. In 2018, China’s online retail transactions reached $1.33 trillion and are forecasted to reach $1.99 trillion by the end of 2019. More than three quarters of mainland China’s online retail sales next year are forecast to be worth more than US$1 trillion and most of it will be transacted over mobile devices.
According to a recent eMarketer report, online sales in China are expected to reach $1.935 trillion in 2019 which is more than triple the projected $586.92 billion in sales compared to the U.S.
They would account for 75.3 per cent, or US$1.2 trillion, of total domestic retail e-commerce sales next year. It is a trend supported by the country’s status as the world’s largest smartphone market, and manifested in recent data from ecommerce behemoths Alibaba and Tencent Holdings-backed JD.com.
Social media also play an important role in driving eCommerce activity in China with over 674 million active social media users according to a 2018 report published by Statista. Social media platforms such as Tencent’s microblogging platform We Chat has grown to 1.15 billion subscribers in 2019.
Chinese online consumers have been observed to be more active online with regards to their purchases and preferences compared to their US counterparts. Social commerce took shape in China when the traditional e-commerce industry was facing an overly saturated market, intensified competition, and rising consumer acquisition costs which were eating up profit margins.
Social commerce emerged as a solution to decentralize sales and marketing channels, and has been growing in popularity and variety since then. According to the Internet Society of China’s recent forecast, the segment is poised to comprise more than 30% of the country’s entire online retail business in 2020.
Electronic Payment Platforms
China has also been more receptive and favoured electronic payment platforms. Paying with your phone in China has become a common practice. According to a survey, 92% of people in China’s largest cities use Wechat Pay or Alipay as their main means of payment. And the phenomenon is the same in rural China where 47% of the rural population is reported to use mobile payments regularly.
This increase in the use of smartphone payments in China is linked to the growth of e-commerce and m-commerce. The main reason mobile payments have been so successful in China because they are fast and straightforward. It has made payments so much faster and this speed is possible thanks to the QR codes. Especially in China, QR codes are everywhere, even street musicians have a QR Code to collect money.
Growth in Rural Areas and Lower-Tier Cities
The total consumption of lower-tier cities and rural areas managed to reach $3.3 trillion in 2017, and is expected to reach $8.4 trillion in 2030, according to a Morgan Stanley study. Of that estimated $8.4 trillion, $6.9 trillion will come from China’s still-growing urban centers, while the rest comes from rural areas. The only reason for this is due to China’s massive urbanization, as more people leave the countryside for steady work and better services in the city and migrant workers return to their home cities for a slower pace of life.
Improve the technicals of your eCommerce
Improve server systems – Servers need to be able to handle the increased web traffic to prevent site downtimes and service outages.
Prepare for the Large Inflow of Orders – A huge influx of Chinese New Year buyers is expected thus Improvements towards stock keeping and order placement are also essential.
Expand Options for Offerings of Deliveries– Businesses should not rely solely on single delivery services. This is why secondary and tertiary courier services are important during peak sales seasons like the Chinese New Year.
Secure Transport Commitments – Improve Delivery Efficiency during peak seasons to guarantee availability of delivery and transport assets.
Prepare for Purchase Returns – An efficient and reliable returns system is critical during the holiday season. Having an efficient return policy improves customer satisfaction and increases the percentage of return customers and future referrals.
Partner with Local Logistics Networks – Roadblocks such as late product delivery and slow collect-on-delivery processes are a high possibility during peak seasons. Establish strong relationships with local logistics providers to ensure reliable operations.
Getting your eCommerce business ready for Chinese New Year 2020 can be daunting as it starts earlier in the year this time. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to take full advantage of it and prepare yourself with these tips and statistics that we have given you. If you’re interested in taking your eCommerce to the next level and beat the competition, we also have another write up here on 2020 tech trends for you to implement into your eCommerce business.