Price savings remain a huge priority within China’s online shopping community as consumers grow to expect discounted rates.

New research from Euromonitor International heralds a landmark year for the global economy, with China finally overtaking the US as the world’s biggest force in terms of purchase power parity. This is a component used to establish the relative value of currency judging by the cost to purchase an agreed list of commodities.  

Despite still falling behind in terms of living standards and average consumer expenditure, China’s economy is vast and growing. Events like the acceleration of mobile shopping and third-party payment systems are creating huge opportunities for small, independent online retailers, who have duly recognised their customers’ need for value.

E-retailers expected to outprice competition

According to the study, China’s strength in e-commerce is particularly evident in the apparel and footwear category, where sales of these items have grown from a value of under $10 billion in 2011 up to nearly $35 billion in 2013.  

Retailers in the US do hold a slight edge over their Chinese counterparts with apparel and footwear sales just scaling the $35 billion mark last year. However, considering this total has grown by $15 billion since 2008, there is plenty of evidence that China will not be playing catch up for much longer.

As China continues its progress in such a key product category, discounts published by affiliates or otherwise will help drive business forward. Euromonitor claims that shoppers typically expect online retailers to offer better rates than brick-and-mortar stores.

“Sluggish domestic economic conditions and the subsequent heightened price sensitivity towards apparel purchasing have reinforced the value proposition of the online channel.”

Brands advised to get social

In terms of getting across to the average Chinese consumer, other findings from the report showed there were few better ways than through social media.

Microblogging sites such as Sina Weibo and We Chat have become important communication platforms for brands as they look to interact with consumers on a more direct level.

Around 40% of Chinese consumers use microblogging sites on a daily basis, way above the 12% of US consumers that do the same.

In summary, Euromonitor states that China will continue to remain behind the US in terms of sales from the online channel, but advised brands to look out for the former’s performance in certain product types.