Dairy products fuel China’s online spend (updated)

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Chinese online shoppers spent US$1.21 trillion (NZ$1.6 trillion) on foreign brands in 2017, according to Alibaba’s 2017 annual report, posted on its business-to-consumer site Tmall.

Campaign Asia-Pacific reports that the sheer scale of sales partly came from the C2C daigou marketplaces, which boomed after the 2008 infant milk scandal that triggered the trend of overseas shoppers reselling foreign infant formula brands to Chinese consumers.

These channels which have been plagued by counterfeit products complaints have nevertheless in recent years been overtaken by B2C platforms Tmall Global and JD.com Global, which allow international brands that do not have a physical presence in China to sell to consumers directly.

“NZ’s biggest sales to China included health and baby products, and milk powder.”

Cross-border ecommerce sales are estimated to account for 20% of total ecommerce sales in China last year, while B2C platforms take up more than 75% of the cross-border sales.

Meanwhile, close to half of the shoppers on Tmall Global are identified as members of the “post-90s” and “post-85s” groupings—Chinese youths who contributed to almost 40% of the sales on the platform.

The top five countries and their respective top product categories:

  1. Japan: Diapers and baby products, beauty and personal care products.
  2. USA: Health foods and supplements, baby products, bags.
  3. Australia: Health and nutrition supplements, baby products, milk powder for adults.
  4. Germany: Milk powder, dietary and nutrition supplements, cups/kettles.
  5. Korea: Beauty and personal care products, cosmetics

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