Online sales of imported products in China are expected to grow 20% annually to reach a market scale of 620 billion yuan by 2019, according to a trend report recently released by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall and Chinese data aggregator CBNData.
Tmall sustained its position as the largest business-to-customer e-commerce platform for imported goods in China with a market share of 27.6% as of 2017-end, according to the report, which is based on big data collected by Alibaba from its more than 500 million active users and 10 million merchants from January 2015 to December 2017.
The report also noted that consumption upgrades will continue to be the key driver for growth of cross-border e-commerce in China. Tmall Global, which features imported goods, saw its total number of customers triple between 2015 and 2017, with more than 30% doing increased spending on the platform.
People born in the 1990s are wielding the main purchasing power for imported products, accounting for nearly 50% of the total number of Tmall Global users and contributing nearly 40% of total sales in 2017, the report showed. The top motivations for this consumer group to buy imported goods were a desire to try new things, aspirations to own luxury items and alleviating anxiety about aging.
In 2017, Tmall Global hosted more than 16,400 brands from 68 countries on its platform. Beauty products remained the most popular category, followed by food and supplements, and mother and baby products.
Japan, the U.S., Australia, Germany and South Korea were the top five source countries for cross-border e-commerce sales in 2017. Specifically, Chinese consumers are buying diapers and baby products from Japan, the U.S. and Australia, while favoring beauty and personal care products from Japan and South Korea. Australia and Germany saw Chinese online shoppers snap up milk powder and nutrition supplements. Bags from the U.S. were also among the best sellers.
As of March 1, US$1 was equivalent to 6.36 Chinese yuan.