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Study: U.S. retailers should look to China for growth


U.S. retailers looking for a new source of revenue may be in luck.

The number of China-based consumers shopping U.S. brands online during the holiday season has increased seven times from 2014, which is a record level according to Ant Financial Services Group’s Alipay. Alipay also found that total sales from China-based consumers purchasing U.S. products with its Alipay ePass cross-border e-commerce solution increased 15 times from the prior year.

The results were uncovered as part of Alipay’s early holiday shopping review conducted from Nov. 1 - Nov. 30.

Interestingly, Millennials represented the largest group of Chinese consumers buying from U.S. retailers, replacing the middle class as China’s strongest online shopping segment for cross-border purchases. Topping the list were shoppers born in the 1990s, with 34% born after the 1990s (a 30% increase from 2014), closely following those born in the 1980s.

Chinese cross-border shoppers were predominantly female (70%), with fashion, beauty, baby products and health & wellness categories representing 75% of total transactions. 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 U.S. products and Western merchandise that they can’t find in China,” said Jingming Li, president, Alipay U.S. “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 U.S. e-commerce retailers provide more discounts and promotions.”

China is a burgeoning market of consumers with disposable income looking for items of quality and type not easily obtained from domestic sources. Digital commerce makes engaging and selling products to them easier than ever, although U.S. retailers will need to create culturally appropriate promotional messages and customer experiences.

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