This week in the news, there are some key differences between Chinese shoppers and Western shoppers, WeChat is helping China’s travel companies monetize, Chinese group-buying websites are consolidating, Starbucks will bring its Starbucks Reserve coffees to four Chinese cities, and MCM showed off its spring collection in Beijing.
Chinese e-commerce is still blossoming; more than half of China’s online shoppers shoppers have only made their first digital purchase in the past four years. At the beginning of this year, there were around 300 million online shoppers in China. This figure is expected to nearly double in size within the next few years. Chinese consumers also shop online frequently; 75 percent of them make digital purchases on a weekly basis, compared with a global average of just 21 percent. Chinese consumers also enjoy the experience of shopping considerably more than their British and American counterparts. 68 percent of Chinese surveyed were “happy or overjoyed” with their shopping experience. Only 48 percent of Americans and 41 percent of British consumers surveyed answered the same way.
With over 440 million users as of Q2 2014, Tencent-owned WeChat is the world’s second-largest global messaging service, and China’s travel industry is jumping on board. With expected revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2014, primarily from online games, the company has now turned its attention to increasing revenue from e-commerce and mobile payments. China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, now sells airplane, train, and attractions tickets through WeChat. Similarly, Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier, launched its WeChat app in April of this year, which allows customers to purchase tickets and check in for their flights. What’s more, after starting a partnership with WeChat, Chinese taxi app Didi Dache doubled its users to 40 million in one month.
China’s group-buying websites offer great deals on a host of products and services while stimulating business. 120 million people in mainland China group-bought a product or service in August, a 109 percent year-on-year increase. The value of these consumers’ transactions for the month reached 7.7 billion yuan, up 108 percent year-on-year. Group-buying offers can benefit luxury brands affected by the Chinese government’s recent austerity push, as South Beauty’s example shows. Over the past few months, the high-end restaurant chain has offered dinners for four people for 298 yuan on the Dianping.com’s group-buying sub-site. The original price for one of these meals was 1,234 yuan. 12,165 of them were sold between April and October.
Starbucks is elevating the coffee experience in China through its introduction of Starbucks Reserve™ coffees to select cities in China with its new “interactive coffee bars.” Currently available in 25 markets, including the US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Korea, and Japan, Starbucks Reserve coffees are sourced from small-lot plantations from around the world. Coming to seven of the company’s stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, these Starbucks Reserve interactive coffee bars will allow customers to explore Starbucks’ variety of coffees, ask questions, discover different brewing methods, and purchase their favorite equipment and coffees for home use.
German luxury leather goods brand MCM showcased its new spring collection titled “Game On! Diamondland!” in Beijing, the first time a new collection has been shown outside of Europe. The event, which was held at the Phoenix International Media Center, a giant bowl-like structure encased with a web of silver steel and attended by mainly Chinese celebrities, was meant for its global audience in addition to its all-important Chinese market. China, which is the brand’s second biggest market and accounts for 20 percent of global sales, will continue to be an important market for the luxury brand, as the company will have 45 stores in mainland China by the end of 2014. In 2015, the company will open stores in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
image source: modernwearing.com