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GroupM charts China e-commerce frenzy

20 June, 2014

China’s Herculean E-Commerce Market

SHANGHAI — Alibaba put China e-commerce on the global map when it announced an impending IPO that could exceed Facebook’s IPO and 2013 transactions that more than doubled Amazon. GroupM Interaction follows up with a mobile survey and viral video “China’s Herculean E-Commerce Market”, providing a peek behind the scenes to document (sometimes irreverently) just how deeply China’s e-commerce frenzy has embedded itself into everyday life.

Nearly a quarter of Chinese shop on the toilet, and over half admit to shopping while at work. Highly contagious, online shopping is hitting epidemic levels, with over half missing sleep to shop late, and more than one in five saying their shopping addiction is negatively affecting “family harmony”.

“Although some of our survey questions were tongue-in-cheek, we cannot overemphasize the importance of online shopping for brands in China,” said Tony Chen, Chief Digital Officer GroupM China. “The top e-commerce sites are no longer mere sales channels, but media in their own right, with hundreds of millions of visitors ripe for brand communication.”

Last year, China passed the US to become the largest e-commerce market, and Chinese shoppers are arguably the most mobile and social buyers on the planet. The GroupM survey found that given a choice, two-thirds of Chinese would take e-commerce over traditional retail.

Getting out to shop in physical stores is challenging in China, especially in first-tier cities that suffer from pollution, parking shortages, long lines, poor service, and counterfeit goods. In addition, China’s retail sector is inefficient in the higher-tier cities where it exists, and often non-existent in the lower tiers.

E-commerce, by contrast, offers consumers competitive prices, huge selection, an online record of all purchases ever made, easy payment, and great delivery service (often the next day before noon) across categories.

An inextricable part of everyday life in China, online shopping creates a whole new purchase journey that is opening unprecedented opportunities for brand marketers.

“Over the next two decades, e-commerce will likely become the make-or-break platform for brand success in China,” said Chen, “So it’s important for brands to beginning laying the groundwork this year.”

About GroupM China
GroupM is WPP’s consolidated media investment management operation, serving as the parent company to agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare and Xaxis.

GroupM is the global leading media investment management group.

GroupM invests in more than 560 markets across China, with an overall activity volume of USD 7.3 billion (RECMA: 2012 Definitive). As China’s number one media communications group, GroupM is the industry’s biggest investor in syndicated and proprietary media research and optimization tool development.

About the survey
Conducted in conjunction with Decision Fuel, survey results were collected via mobile from 1500 Chinese smartphone users representing various city tiers across China.

Media contact
Swee Lynn Chong
+86 21 2307 7701

Craig Watts
+86 10 85233657

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