China ‘open for business’ despite tensions as appetites for Aussie retail remain high

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By Published On: September 13, 20220 Comments

A new study of 1,000 Chinese consumers has found that appetites for Western and Australian products in China remain high, despite ongoing geopolitical tensions.

The study, conducted by global eCommerce accelerator Pattern, consulted shoppers who had bought from China’s largest cross-border marketplace Tmall Global within the last 12 months in order to determine their product interests and shopping habits.

Interestingly, despite political tensions between China and numerous Western countries (including Australia), the study finds that demand for Western and Australian products in China continues to be high. 54 percent of Chinese shoppers who had purchased cross-border products online in the past 12 months report planning to spend more money buying cross-border products online over the year ahead, with 51 percent looking to buy more Western products over the same period.

In considering buying Western products, 60 percent of the study’s subjects report ‘strong product quality’ as being a priority and 51 percent reporting a product’s popularity on social media or advertisements as being convincing factors contributing to their purchases.

“While ongoing media reports may suggest otherwise, Australian brands should have a positive outlook in regard to selling into China based on the country’s sustained interest for Australian retailers,” says Merline McGregor, General Manager for Pattern Australia, “These results show that China’s cross-border shoppers have more considerations in mind than merely product price when deciding to buy.” 

“Central to the reasons why Chinese shoppers search for Australian goods is their quality, followed by wanting products that are unique or that match their style. With these factors in mind, Australian brands need to think carefully about the range of products they make available for sale in Chinese markets.”

Product reviews were also identified as important to Chinese shoppers, 74 percent of whom say they commonly search reviews for Western products on a brand’s social media and 70 percent through a brand’s online storefront, with e-commerce brands hoping to attract Chinese shoppers encouraged to build their presences on social media.

“Western brands are advised to build their official presence on marketplaces and social channels in China,” McGregor adds, “Including offering platforms for consumer reviews to gain shoppers’ trust and help convert shopper interest into a sale.”

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Heather Bone