E-commerce to play bigger role in driving consumption


“The air fryer is so nice. Little did I think that I could be so with-it,” said Hu Yuxia, a woman from Tanjia village, Zhenjiang, east China’s Jiangsu province, while cooking with the electric pot she just bought from the Shushuang appliance store in the township.

“Indeed, I bought it from the online shop of the Shushuang appliance store,” she told People’s Daily.

Hu is a frequent customer of the Shushuang appliance store, which has been doing business in the township for more than 10 years, and she’s quite familiar with the owner of the store, Rong Xiaoqiang.

“As an appliance store facing the rural market, we have a large number of frequent customers and enjoy a high degree of customer loyalty, but we were limited by small inventory and a lack of sales channels,” said Rong.

A few years ago, Rong’s store joined an e-commerce platform run by Huitongda, a company backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and its annual sales surged by about 30 percent year on year after that. The store’s sales in the first half of 2022 reached 2.15 million yuan ($318,198), increasing 10 percent from a year ago.

According to an employee of Huitongda, the platform connects 169,000 rural stores in 21 provinces with more than 10,000 appliance manufacturers and distributors.

Owners of the stores can put on the shelves anything in the platform’s product base, and then the platform will purchase these products from the manufacturers, the employee introduced.

The platform enables stores to combine online shopping with in-person services, and the prices online change according to the market. Besides, coupons are issued to consumers via both online and offline channels to further contribute to the upgrading of rural consumption.

The statistics released by the platform indicated that the per capita consumption of home appliances in rural areas stood at 4,100 yuan in 2021, and the number has kept rising at an average of 7.7 percent in the past three years.

E-commerce transactions are expanding in China. Online retail sales of physical goods increased 5.6 percent year on year in the first half of this year, reaching nearly 5.45 trillion yuan. The stable growth in the online retail market sent a positive signal of economic recovery.

E-commerce has played an increasingly important role in driving consumption, making positive contributions to China’s stable economic growth. China has a super large market, and the constant development of rural e-commerce is leading to a boost in rural consumption. As of December 2021, there were 284 million internet users in rural China, which would release huge potential for consumption.

The accelerated development of e-commerce infrastructure has also assisted the progress of the industry. By the end of June this year, China has set up 1.85 million 5G base stations and the number of 5G mobile subscribers has hit 455 million. Besides, the development of overseas warehouses and other new types of infrastructure also contributed to the growth of e-commerce.

It is believed that the future application of big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, block chain and other technologies will further drive the development of the e-commerce sector.

Big data will help e-commerce platforms learn the demands of consumers in a more targeted manner so that they can offer consumers individualized products. Besides, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are expected to provide consumers with immersive shopping experiences.


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