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Cross-border E-commerce Overperforming

Source:China Daily Published:2021-05-20 17:02

Staff members of a cross-border e-commerce store in Rugao, Jiangsu province, sell products on a livestream session. [Photo by Wu Shujian/For China Daily]

Cross-border e-commerce business has grown robustly in China as consumers shopped more online during COVID-19-stricken 2020, and was especially buoyed by the increasing purchasing power of younger generations, said a new report.

The report, jointly released by Amazon Global Store and Baidu, said the pandemic has given a strong boost to online shopping, and Chinese consumers' passion for buying imports has increased significantly during the past year.

In 2020, searches related to "cross-border e-commerce" related content jumped 20 percent from 2019, among which the search for "how to buy overseas products during the pandemic" was very common, according to the report.

Considering the geographical distribution of cross-border online shopping, nearly one-third of Amazon Global Store users in China are from first-tier cities. Beijing topped the list in terms of citizens' annual consumer spending in 2020, followed by Shanghai as well as Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province. New first-tier cities have also appeared on the Top 10 list, such as Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Chengdu in Sichuan province.

While top-tier cities still dominated cross-border online consumption, many other cities are showing great potential.

Li Yanchuan, head of China Global Store and Prime, Amazon, said Chinese consumers, especially those living in lower-tier cities, have displayed a fast-growing purchasing power and a certain liking for buying high-quality products online as COVID-19 has hindered transnational travel.

According to the report, 32 percent of users who buy overseas goods are from fourth-tier cities in 2020, up from 28 percent in 2019. And cities in western and central regions in China, including Shizuishan, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, and Sanmenxia, Henan province, have seen the fastest growth in the number of people purchasing imported goods on Amazon.

Jinzhong, Shanxi province, topped all other Chinese cities in terms of per capita consumption in 2020, followed by Chifeng, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region; Fushun, Heilongjiang province, and Xingtai, Hebei province.

Notably, the younger generation's rising purchasing power has become the major driving force to boost growth of cross-border online shopping.

The report showed 41 percent of Chinese cross-border online shoppers were born in the 1990s, and more than 11 percent of those shoppers are born in the 2000s.

According to the report, young consumers around the age of 25 mainly shop to satisfy their interest, preferring purchasing trendy items such as game consoles, sneakers and snacks, while those around 30 shop for necessities like coffee makers, razors and appliances.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, China has been the world's largest online retail market for eight consecutive years, and its cross-border e-commerce retail imports exceeded 100 billion yuan ($15.6 billion) in 2020.

Gao Feng, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said during a recent news conference that China's overall consumer demand, especially in central and western regions and in third and fourth-tier cities, is increasing strongly, and there is robust demand for high-quality imports.

Li of Amazon Global Store said cross-border online shopping has been significantly fueled by the government's trade-friendly policies and Chinese consumers' rising demand for high-quality international goods, and the pandemic has driven more consumers to shop online.

"We will continue to deepen localization initiatives in China … We will also focus on the new middle-income group, especially the young consumers, to meet their increasing personalized and diversified demand, and strive to create more immersive cross-border online shopping experiences," he added.

Editor:Zhao Xichen