Global retailers that opted to open online-only stores in China instead of going the brick-and-mortar route are counting their lucky stars as the country’s economic difficulties haven’t dented e-commerce.
According to a report released Monday by the China E-Commerce Research Center (CERC), the market hit 7.63 trillion yuan (or $1.2 trillion) between January and June, up 30.4% from the year-ago period.
Not surprisingly, B2B e-commerce led the charge, jumping 28.8% year-over-year to 5.8 trillion yuan (about $910 billion). Online retail sales—comprising direct-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer transactions—climbed 48.7% to 1.61 trillion yuan (roughly $252.7 billion), a growth aided by smartphones, mobile payment options and an expanded selection of 4G networks.
Meanwhile, China’s ever-growing middle class has already surpassed buying $245 billion worth of goods from foreign websites by 2020, as recently forecast by Accenture and AliResearch.
It seems the Chinese population truly thirsts for brand authenticity and wasn’t willing to take any chances with its own e-commerce sites (read: Alibaba, JD.com and Yihaodian) which have become infamous for carrying counterfeits. As per the CERC report, cross-border e-commerce was up 42.8% to 2 trillion yuan ($313 billion) in the first half of the year and accounted for just over 17 percent of the country’s total trade volume.
Recruitment demand in the sector also spiked.
At the end of 2014, more than 2.5 million people worked directly in e-commerce and more than 18 million indirectly. Those numbers then skyrocketed 71 percent year-over-year in the first of 2015, particularly in second- and lower-tier cities, as a study published in August by the China Institute for Employment Research revealed.