Retail in Asia

In Shops

Millennials: China’s strongest online shopping power for cross-border purchases

The number of China-based consumers shopping US brands online over the holiday season has jumped 7 times over last year, representing a record-breaking year, according to Alipay, China’s leading third-party payment platform.

The result was uncovered as part of Alipay’s early holiday shopping review conducted from 17 November through 30 November, when the company also found that total sales from China-based consumers purchasing US products through Alipay ePass increased 15 times versus last year.

Interestingly, Millennials represented the largest group of consumers, replacing the middle class as China’s strongest online shopping segment for cross-border purchases. Topping the list were shoppers born in the 90s, with 34 percent of the shoppers born after the 90s (which increased 3 times over last year), closely following those born in the 80s.

Shoppers were predominantly female (70 percent), with fashion, beauty, baby products and health & wellness categories representing 75 percent of total transactions. Further, 80 percent of total transactions were made by new Alipay ePass users. Overall, the most consumption took place in Shanghai and Beijing, followed by Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.

"Among the savviest shoppers in the world, Chinese consumers are continuously seeking high quality US products and Western merchandise that they can’t find in China," said Jingming Li, President, Alipay US. "With better logistics and localized payment options now available to make cross-border purchases, we expect this tremendous growth of Chinese consumers to continue throughout the holiday season, particularly as US e-commerce retailers provide more discounts and promotions."

Launched in September 2014, the Alipay ePass program is a cross-border e-commerce solution that enables US brands and retailers to sell directly to Chinese consumers using localized payments and direct shipping. Through the program, Alipay’s 400 million registered users in China can shop its retail partners’ full online assortments at the same retail prices offered to US consumers, while receiving Alipay’s fast, reasonably priced shipping, customs clearance, and door-to-door delivery anywhere in China.