China Generated 52% of Its 2020 Retail Sales from E-Commerce; A lot of it came from “Social Commerce”

We knew that e-commerce had a big year in 2020, but just how big is evidenced by China becoming the world’s first country to generate more than 50% of its retail sales from e-commerce. That’s according to a Chain Store Age article by Marianne Wilson.

China is not just the world leader in e-commerce. They are the leader by a lot. Here is how the next three countries ranked*:

China 52%

South Korea 28.9%

The United Kingdom 28.3%

The United States 15%

*eMarketer Insider Intelligence report

According to Chain Store Age, one of the keys to China’s robust e-commerce numbers is sales driven through social networks, aptly called social commerce. Those who utlize social commerce link a shopping cart directly to products mentioned or shown in social network conversations and ads.

Social commerce in China amounted to $363 billion. Social commerce in the U.S., however, only came to 10% of that amount.

Social commerce is, therefore, a big potential growth area in the U.S. According to Investopedia, these are some of the tactics used by those who market through social networks:

  • Inviting users to vote on product style or choices
  • Offering personalized buyer options
  • Applying large and striking graphics to attract viewer clicks
  • Using videos to show the product in use and from multiple angles
  • Encouraging user-submitted photos, commentary, and feedback
  • Using celebrity endorsements of the product line
  • Linking directly to the checkout or shopping cart
  • Offering promotions or giveaways to users who share the product on their feeds

China’s success with e-commerce gives us a lot about which to think. For example, imagine what will happen to bricks and mortar if the U.S. ever passes the 50% e-commerce mark.

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