China’s Middle Class Fuels E-Commerce

The surge in buying products via cross-border e-commerce in China is set to expand to a much wider population base by 2020, a new study has found. The driving force is a higher standard of living for the middle class. Researcher eMarketer estimates that by 2020, a quarter of the population, or more than half of all digital buyers, will shop directly on foreign-based sites or through third parties. Cross-border e-commerce imports into China grew about 30% to $182 billion (1.25 trillion yuan) in 2016 and will grow at a similar pace in 2017, said research firm iResearch.

China’s growing middle-class – which McKinsey Co estimates will reach 630 million by 2022 – will drive the growth. China’s demand for foreign products is surging in part due to a higher standard of living in China combined with a greater exposure to, and knowledge of, foreign products, according to eMarketer. And some overseas goods, such as infant products, are perceived by consumers in China to be of higher-quality and more trustworthy.