Social commerce in China: new trends

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a new trend to online shopping that has quickly developed in recent years especially in China. It is a fusion between an e-commerce and a social network, but it is not as simple as it seems.

Social commerce platforms are not simply social media apps linked with an e-commerce, they are something more and they revolutionized the customer journey of Chinese customers. In traditional e-commerce, users searched for what they were looking for, and after seeing different products made their purchase decision. With social commerce the process is reversed, products reach users with a system based on peer-to-peer sharing and recommendations. Now consumers can interact with people they know and follow their advice on products or listen to KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) suggestions. With these interactions the mechanism is perceived as more reliable by the consumer and at the same time, brands can reach in a more accurate way their targets.

Social commerce in China

Social commerce has grown exponentially in the last few years in China. Only in 2018, the GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) reached 626.85 billion Yuan with an incredible increase of 255.8% since the previous year, and it is expected to reach 2.86 trillion yuan in 2021.


Social commerce GMV in China 2015-2021

Source: iResearch Global Group

Who uses more social commerce platforms?

The younger generations are the key consumer groups shopping on social commerce platforms. Chinese millennials and Gen Z represent the biggest share of the market. In particular, 64% of the customers have less than 30 years old, and those under 24 years old alone represent 35,7% of the market.

Age distribution on social commerce platforms in China 2019

Source: iiMedia Research

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