Emerging International eCommerce trends in 2015
China’s social showroom
China’s 500m social network users have had a huge influence on its domestic e-commerce market. McKinsey’s iConsumer China 2015 survey found that social networkers are 38% more likely to shop online. In response, thousands of merchants have begun using WeChat to infiltrate online peer networks and drive direct sales.
Though China is a nation with no shortage of willing consumers, this demographic is also highly digital literate, and might be wary of more blatant online marketing tactics. For that reason, Chinese retailers’ response to the massive trend towards showrooming – browsing in physical stores before purchacing elsewhere, including online – is an interesting one.
Rather than try to create an alternative, parallel trend that would risk fracturing the market, retailers have sought ways to influence showrooming outcomes by closing the gap between shopping online and offline, with the ultimate aim of reducing sales leakage.
For example, InTime, a Chinese department store, last year collaborated with Tmall, a Chinese online retail platform, to allow shoppers to browse in-store and order online with their handsets on the spot.
If successful, this could have a massive influence on high street shopping across the globe.
Brazil goes mobile
E-commerce has grown rapidly in Brazil over the last ten years. As a market grounded and grown in the smartphone era (over three quarters of all phones in Brazil are smartphones), it is one of the leading countries for mobile-influenced sales, with a whopping 40% of its e-commerce traffic coming through mobile sources.
Brazil’s healthy economy and tech-savvy, bulging middle classes should bolster this trend in both the short and medium term. This fact might also explain why Brazilian consumers lead the world in global e-commerce purchases.
A reported 81% of consumers are prepared to buy from international websites, a sign of the nation’s consumer confidence, which is reflected by the overall buoyancy of its economy.
Brazil’s economic boom is, of course, two-way. The trends at the consumer end of the market are likely to influence the shape of retailers’ e-commerce strategies too.
World follows UK’s lead
Brits love to shop online. Close to 15% of all retail sales in the UK take place on the internet, a higher proportion than any other country in the world. The UK will continue to lead through 2015 while the rest of the world will play catch up.
In Europe, Germany is the next largest e-commerce market, followed by France and Spain. Though these are forecast to grow, and Germany is anticipated to close the gap on the UK, the British market is likely to remain unchallenged as the largest in Europe for some time yet.
In the US, the proportion of online sales is half that of the UK’s. This lag will be challenged as America rises out of recession and new demographics go digital.
It points towards an e-commerce boom that will offer huge potential for the next generation of retailers. And as is clear from other emerging nations, there is no need for those rewards to be restricted to domestic players.
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