China shows us the future of e-commerce

China is charging ahead to the future of e-commerce, heralding a combination of mobile commerce, social commerce and entertainment commerce. 

Most of China’s e-commerce transactions are mobile – for example, 82% of shoppers made purchases via their mobile phones at last year’s Singles Day shopping festival. Compare that to the US, where only 36% of Americans made purchases on a mobile phone on Black Friday last year. 

E-commerce is also intertwined with social media. WeChat has over 800 million active users and the in-built payment system is used by companies to sell direct to consumers. In the west, these are still largely separate things.

There is also a merging of e-commerce with entertainment, dubbed ‘entertainmerce’. As an example, Alibaba live-streamed an 8-hour ‘see now, buy now’ fashion show on Tmall. People could buy clothes they saw on the runway before the show had finished.

China has successfully managed to merge these three types of commerce together, giving consumers an easy, interactive and well-rounded shopping experience.