Eight Things that Rocked China E-Commerce in 2019

by JingDaily

This articles originally posted on Jing Daily.

It is expected that more growth will come from decentralized e-commerce, in which the customer journey starts with text and video content on online media platforms rather than search-focused e-commerce platforms. Photo: Shutterstock

2019 was a challenging year in China e-commerce as competition intensified and growth in China’s internet industry began to slow, forcing many players to cut loss-making businesses like Kaola.

Large foreign retailers such as Forever 21, Carrefour, and Metro exited the market, Amazon shut down its domestic China business, and larger players such as Alibaba and JD.com doubled down on growth in lower-tier cities.

We review what happened in 2019 and what it all means for the future of China e-commerce.

1. Livestreaming e-commerce took off
Livestreaming + e-commerce became popular this year as platforms and merchants alike began looking for better ways to engage customers. Tmall Global product views brought in through Taobao Live jumped 309% to reach 35.03 million this past year, and the number of products purchased jumped 430% to reach 2.36 million.

Kim Kardashian collaborated with livestreaming influencer Viya to sell 15,000 bottles of KKW Beauty perfume on Singles Day. Viya and Austin Li, who started his career as a L’Oreal attendant, were two of the top livestreamers this year. Over 100,000 brands and merchants used livestreaming to market their products on Singles Day this year, a new record.

2. China’s new e-commerce law came into effect, forcing daigou sellers out
Enacted towards the end of 2018, China’s new e-commerce law was the first of its kind to place sweeping regulations on the e-commerce industry. The regulations require all online merchants to register for business licenses and pay business taxes. Those who were notably affected included individual gray-market daigou sellers on Taobao and WeChat; these merchants smuggle in imported products and re-sell them at a mark-up. 

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