The 2019 GELF China Research study is the result of a collaboration with Sunrise International, a Beijing-based marketing and event management company. This report expands upon our 2017 China Research study, noting differences in the approaches of US brands and retailers.
Global “multi-platform” digital retail is bigger than brands’ China strategy. Global ecommerce is evolving from multichannel to multi-platform, leveraging the digital platforms’ reach, selling and fulfillment capabilities. Inside and outside of China, brands will use multiple platforms to reach the global shopper, creating a complex environment to manage and optimize.
Consumers: Many platforms for predominantly young, female shoppers to discover and purchase foreign brands. Much more diverse than today’s ecommerce market share story, including buying brands via WeChat, Kaola, Daigou and brands’ Chinese DTC ecommerce site. And the good news is these foreign brand buyers are looking to buy more in the future.
Brands: “We’ve got to be there" China is still a long-term priority, but many short-term challenges are creating strong headwinds. The need for a China ecommerce champion reminds us of many previous digital retail strategies. The impact of macro trade friction is mixed, with B2B and distribution levels most affected. Less obvious benefits include the rise of DTC ecommerce and enhancing global supply chain outside of China. DTC ecommerce remains nascent; viewed by some as a hedge against marketplaces, and clearly from a cross-border perspective, the preferred digital channel to drive “authentic product” sales.