Top 5 eCommerce Trends in China (2021)

Written by Harry Bray

February 16, 2021

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Happy Lunar or Chinese New Year! (depending on where you are in the world). 2021, the year of the Ox, promises to bring stability and calmness to the world when it needs it most.

2020 proved to be a roller-coaster ride that drastically changed our world’s consumer behaviour and accelerated eCommerce market growth. For the past 5 years, China has been at the forefront of digital retail trends accounting for 35% of the globe’s eCommerce market share!

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“Retail eCommerce sales in China will grow by 21% in 2021.”


With the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic lingering on, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 eCommerce trends we can expect to see come out of China this year.

Live Streaming

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Retail commerce via live streaming is still a bit of an unknown in the western world, but it has been rapidly growing for the last 3 years in China. Retail streaming platforms such as TaoBao and Pinduoduo have been at the forefront of the markets astronomical rise, leading to an estimated market value of $12 billion!

You might be wondering, what makes it appealing to customers? First, the pandemic has elevated our need, as consumers, to fill that social and interactive void that physical retail gives us. Live streaming provides instant product info, huge discounts, interactive questions and “expert” advice from trusted influencers!

Secondly, live streaming is easily accessible via anyone’s mobile device, combined with the fact that live content is proven to be much more engaging results in a high sales conversion rate. This has resulted in big luxury brands and celebrities jumping on board the digital trend, further fuelling its growth. Expect to see retail live streaming over our way soon!

Short Videos

Everyone loves watching short video clips; it’s quick, quirky and an easy way to scratch that boredom itch! Apps like Tik Tok have seen an enormous rise in popularity over the last 2 years, and eCommerce businesses have spotted an opportunity.

Shopify has recently announced its new partnership with Tik Tok to deliver online sales through their platform, which will spark a unique way for consumers in the West to purchase online. However, this isn’t anything new. China has already been using its own video-based social platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou to sell products online.

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“Short-video apps such as TikTok, Kwai, Bilibili, Pear, Xigua, and Huoshan all have tens of millions of active daily users.”


Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retail is a term that’s becoming increasingly popular in the western commerce world. Omnichannel aims to improve the customer experience and generate sales across all sales contact points; in-store, social platforms and online.

It’s also becoming more popular in China’s commerce market, where retailers create marketing strategies specifically around omnichannel. Because of its effectiveness, Chinese retailers invest large amounts of money into smart sales assistants and virtual reality to further strengthen the gap between physical and online.

Do you want to Omnichannel for your retail business? Excellent Zephyr specialises in delivering unified commerce solutions for retailers. Drop us a call or message to see how we can help you today!

Cross Border eCommerce Sales

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Several factors have influenced the increase in cross border eCommerce sales. The first being that China’s domestic marketplace is becoming saturated meaning that Chinese eCommerce companies need to target new and developing markets.

China’s tech revolution has resulted in thousands of in-demand products being available are bargain prices! Developing countries in South East Asia have been targeted for Chinese eCommerce businesses due to its young demographic, extensive internet usage and growing economies. Mobile phones, electric scooters and laptops have all been hot purchases amongst the SE Asian community.

It’s not only exports. China’s middle and upper class have seen an increasing demand for foreign products. European and American retailers will see an increase in sales throughout the Chinese market because of the products high-quality and exclusiveness. Importing products into China has always been notoriously difficult, although with new trade agreements in place it’s becoming easier than ever!

Similarly, to the predicament that UK retailers find themselves in due to Brexit, logistics can be complicated. Using ShipStation, you can efficiently ship products anywhere in the world for a fraction of the cost. ShipStation is conveniently integrated into your eCommerce platforms so that you can seamlessly prepare and ship products internationally.

Social Commerce

Over the last few years, social commerce has swept across the retail world! Social commerce is a mix of eCommerce and social media. It’s been a massive success on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, where retailers can sell their products in a visually engaging way directly to new and existing customers.

In this article, we’ve talked about China’s obsession with live streaming and video commerce, so it’s no surprise that social commerce is going to continue its meteoric rise throughout 2021!

Curious about how you can utilise social commerce for your retail business? Get in touch, and we’ll show you how!

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