Middle class driving Chinese cross-border e-commerce

A growing middle class in China that likes shopping for foreign brands is helping drive cross-border e-commerce spending, according to a forecast by research company eMarketer.

However, it warns of a growth slowdown ahead.

Total cross-border e-commerce sales in China are expected to reach US$100 billion by the end of this year, with the average buyer spend of $882. This average has increased since eMarketer’s previous forecast thanks to a growing awareness in China of overseas brands, as well as improved logistics and the perception that foreign goods are of better quality.

Also contributing to the growth is the popularity of JD Worldwide, Kaola and Tmall Global, sites that have made it easier for shoppers to access overseas products, says the eMarketer report.

It also notes that 23 per cent of digital buyers in China will make at least one cross-border purchase, but growth in these purchases will start to slow as preference switches to local brands for some categories, such as fashion. Realising the demand for better-quality goods, Chinese brands are starting to adapt, says the report.

However, eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Shelleen Shum says that with shopping sites adding more brands and improving cross-border logistics and processing times, foreign brands still have an opportunity to tap into the demand for high-quality products, especially in categories like baby, maternity, health and beauty.

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