E-commerce gives recovery solid momentum

2023-12-25 09:40:06China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

An anchor promotes products from a shared livestreaming studio in Xingtai, Hebei province, on Nov 20. (FAN QINLONG/FOR CHINA DAILY)

Measures to spur consumption boost domestic demand, high-quality development and 2024 outlook

The rapid evolution of technologies and innovations has made e-commerce, which was initially a convenient tool to buy low-priced household goods, personal accessories or services like food delivery, integral to consumption in recent years, experts said.

Next came China's consumption upgrade, with quality-conscious consumers using online channels to buy even high-value goods like gadgets, appliances and vehicles, as well as intelligent and green commodities containing innovative technologies, and homegrown products. All this has been driving economic growth that was hitherto export-dependent and creating a new path to economic stability amid downward pressures, they said.

Wang Zichen, 32, a financial magazine editor in Beijing, typifies this trend. During the recently concluded Singles Day or 11-11 shopping carnival, Wang used many mobile apps to buy a range of products: a robotic vacuum cleaner, an automated dishwasher, skin care products, sportswear and what have you.

"I prefer to buy what's needed online. Some of them materialize at my door within just an hour, and that's very convenient indeed — I no longer visit supermarkets or exclusive stores for daily necessities. What's more, huge discounts, competitive prices, coupons, bundle offers, livestreaming ... they all make online shopping a thrilling experience, especially during shopping festivals," Wang said.

Efficiency in logistics and reliability of brands and e-tailers have made China's e-commerce platforms the darlings of domestic shoppers, particularly the middle- and high-income groups, experts said, stressing next-generation information technologies like 5G, AI, big data and industrial internet can help create new types of intelligent and green consumer goods, and foster fresh consumption growth points.

Tmall, Alibaba Group's online marketplace for established brands, has already tasted success by embracing that philosophy. From 8 pm on Oct 31 to midnight on Nov 11, Tmall became the e-vehicle for 402 brands, including 243 domestic ones, to drum up sales in excess of 100 million yuan ($14 million) each. Sales turnover of 38,000 brands surged more than 100 percent year-on-year during this period.

JD, another Chinese e-commerce giant, helped over 60 brands to clock combined sales of more than 1 billion yuan each during the weekslong promotional gala. Nearly 20,000 brands saw their turnover on JD rise threefold year-on-year.

Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at domestic consultancy Internet Economy Institute, said there is no question anymore that online shopping can not only sustain, but boost consumption, making the real economy more resilient.

"Chinese e-tailers are doubling down on their pricing strategy to acquire a new breed of users and improve user loyalty and repurchase rates," Mo noted, adding both Taobao, Alibaba's preeminent e-commerce platform, and JD are up against new-age challengers like video-sharing and livestreaming platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, which are redefining e-commerce by integrating livestreaming into it.

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