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China Social Commerce Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Social Commerce market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Social commerce discussed in this report is defined as ecommerce based on social media or using social interactions as the main source of business. It includes platforms that feature social interactions or content sharing besides ecommerce functions, on which registered merchants range from enterprise players as well as private sellers. Private dealers on Weibo/ WeChat as well as public accounts/KOLs who at some point start to market products or services once they’ve accumulated a certain number of followers are also included.

What you need to know

Social commerce has moving from the periphery to central stage, especially with Pinduoduo’s group buying-and-discount model continuously grabbing headlines last year and being adopted by almost all ecommerce players. Meanwhile, ecommerce operators are also expanding to new categories and using new distribution channels and new promotion formats to attract more consumers.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Cici Wu, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

2018 was a banner year for social commerce with the public listing of headline-grabbers Pinduoduo and Mogujie. Major players continue to seek expansion of categories, distribution as well as promotion formats. Consumers on the other hand show great enthusiasm in engaging in all sorts of activities through social commerce platforms. Cici Wu
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Sub-group definitions
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Social commerce landscape
                • Figure 1: Type of social commerce players
              • Welcoming expanded catalogue, distribution and promotion formats
                • Ecommerce law brings discipline to China’s dynamic market
                  • The consumer
                    • Everyone is joining the social commerce party
                      • Figure 2: Social commerce related behaviours, October 2018
                    • The incredible rise of group buying platforms
                      • Figure 3: Social commerce channel awareness, October 2018
                    • Vertical platforms on the crossroads of transformation
                      • Figure 4: Social platform penetration, October 2018
                    • Price and social recommendations better leveraged by leading players
                      • Figure 5: Purchase factors, October 2018
                    • Outfit updates accelerated by social commerce
                      • Figure 6: Products or service purchased, October 2018
                    • Optimistic outlook for social commerce
                      • Figure 7: Preference towards online retail channels, October 2018
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Seizing the opportunity of the “He” economy in social commerce
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Figure 8: Examples of tapping into the “He” economy
                          • Platforms competing on shared playing field
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • How fashion brands have embraced social commerce
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Categorisations of social commerce operators
                                        • Expansion of category, distribution and promotion formats
                                          • China’s first ecommerce law takes effect
                                          • Market Overview

                                            • Social commerce’s dynamic landscape
                                              • Figure 9: Type of social commerce players
                                            • Key drivers of the booming social commence industry: incentivised sharing
                                              • How China’s ecommerce law changes the competition in social commence
                                                • Micro-businesses’ struggles and opportunities
                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                  • Category expansion is the trend but not the only way to increase revenue
                                                    • Offline channels are now relevant to social commence business
                                                      • WeChat Mini-Programs is used to drive traffic for social commerce
                                                        • Short video and live streaming spark new formats of promotion
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Strengths and shortcomings of vertical social commerce platforms
                                                            • Social commerce accelerating wardrobe updating
                                                              • Attending to males’ spending needs and preferences
                                                              • Social Commerce Related Behaviours

                                                                • Social commerce becomes a national craze
                                                                  • Figure 10: Social commerce related behaviours, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 11: Percentage of consumers who have buyer related behaviours, by demographics, October 2018
                                                                • Tier 2 youngsters welcome WeChat dealers for convenience, affordability and authentic reviews
                                                                  • Figure 12: Key drivers of buying products from sellers on WeChat Moments, September 2018
                                                                  • Figure 13: Social commerce related behaviours, by age, October 2018
                                                                • Dynamic engagement driven by sellers
                                                                  • Figure 14: Social commerce sellers’ buying behaviours, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 15: Age of social commerce sellers, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 16: Gender of social commerce sellers, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 17: Employment of social commerce sellers, October 2018
                                                              • Channel Awareness

                                                                • Group buying platforms, the mind-blowing dark horse
                                                                  • Figure 18: Social commerce channel awareness, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 19: Social commerce channel awareness, by age, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 20: Social commerce channel awareness, by education, October 2018
                                                                • Vertical social commerce platforms skew towards well-off females
                                                                  • Figure 21: Awareness of vertical social commerce channel, by gender and age, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 22: Awareness of vertical social commerce channel, by monthly household income, October 2018
                                                              • Channel Usage

                                                                • Vertical social commerce platforms fail to nail transactions
                                                                  • Figure 23: Social platform penetration, October 2018
                                                                • Unlocking the potential of male spenders
                                                                  • Figure 24: Social commerce channel penetration, by gender, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 25: Percentage of consumers who have bought products from Pinduoduo and JD GroupBuy, by age and gender, October 2018
                                                              • Purchase Factors

                                                                • Price and social recommendations are key differentiators
                                                                  • Figure 26: Purchase factors, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 27: Purchase factors of group buying or discount platforms users, by consumer type, October 2018
                                                                • Comprehensive and vertical social commerce platforms attract quality driven consumers
                                                                  • Figure 28: Product related factors of social commerce platforms users, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 29: Purchase factors of comprehensive social commerce platforms users, by consumer type, October 2018
                                                                • Variety and convenience appreciated by males
                                                                  • Figure 30: Selected purchase factors of group buying or discount platforms users, by gender, October 2018
                                                              • Products or Services Purchased

                                                                • Dressing needs accentuated by social commerce
                                                                  • Figure 31: Products or service purchased, October 2018
                                                                • Household cleaning, beauty and health supplements preferred by heavy users
                                                                  • Figure 32: Products or service purchased, by consumer type, October 2018
                                                                • Where is the social commerce gender gap?
                                                                  • Figure 33: Products or service purchased, by gender, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 34: Percentage of buying selected products, by gender and age, October 2018
                                                              • Attitudes towards Social Commerce

                                                                • Young and well-off consumers prefer social commerce over traditional ecommerce
                                                                  • Figure 35: Preference and prospects towards online retail channels, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 36: Preference towards online retail channels, by income and generation, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 37: Future plans towards online retail channels, October 2018
                                                                • Less satisfaction towards product quality
                                                                  • Figure 38: Attitudes towards online retail channels, October 2018
                                                                • Trusting mass buyers over suspected marketers
                                                                  • Figure 39: Attitudes towards social commerce influencers, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 40: Attitudes towards celebrity recommendation on social commerce platforms, by age, October 2018
                                                                • Celebrity recommendations better recognised on Xiaohongshu and Mogujie
                                                                  • Figure 41: Social platform penetration, by attitude towards celebrity recommendation, October 2018
                                                              • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                • More active social commerce participants
                                                                  • Figure 42: Social commerce related behaviours, by consumer classification, October 2018
                                                                • Variety and delivery service drive greater purchase intention
                                                                  • Figure 43: Purchase factors of group buying or discount platforms users, by consumer classification, October 2018
                                                                • Higher satisfaction and expectations for social commerce
                                                                  • Figure 44: Attitudes towards social commerce, by consumer classification, October 2018
                                                              • Appendix – Key Driver Analysis

                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                    • Interpretation of results
                                                                      • Figure 45: Key drivers of buying products from sellers on WeChat Moments, September 2018
                                                                  • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                      • Abbreviations