The outlook for local businesses selling to China looks bright, with more than 8 in 10 (84 per cent) Chinese online shoppers highly likely to buy at least one Australian product in the next 12 months, independent research commissioned by FedEx Express in Australia has found.
The poll of 1,000 Chinese online shoppers (18 – 44 years old and living in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) shows Australian brands are already top of mind, with 81 per cent having purchased at least one Australian product online in the past.
Australian products resonate with Chinese consumers
Those Chinese online shoppers polled estimated that they have spent RMB$4895 (AUD$940) on Australian goods in the past 12 months.
When asked about their perception of Australian goods, over a third (36 per cent) of Chinese online shoppers said they are good value for money and 32 per cent believed they are safer than Chinese goods.
Dairy products were perceived to be ‘world-class’ by 58 per cent of Chinese online shoppers, while a fifth or more believe the same for health supplements and pharmaceutical products (39 per cent), baby products (31 per cent), skincare products (25 per cent), fresh seafood and meat (24 per cent), fresh fruit and vegetables (20 per cent) and wine (20 per cent).
Cosmetic and skincare products were the most popular category, purchased by 31 per cent, followed by healthcare and pharmaceutical products (25 per cent).
“Australian brands enjoy a high reputation among consumers in China” said Kim Garner, managing director, FedEx Express Australasia. “With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the emergence of online marketplaces connecting to consumers in China, it is becoming much easier for Australian businesses to do business with China.”
Shipping is at the heart of online shopping decisions
The most prominent barrier preventing Chinese online shoppers from purchasing Australian goods is the perception that delivery takes too long (35 per cent). However, 80 per cent agree they would be more likely to purchase an online Australian product if the seller used a well-known and reputable international shipping company.
The ability to return a product without extra hassle and cost (69 per cent), reliable solutions for outsized, perishable or fragile deliveries (66 per cent) and fast delivery (57 per cent) were all identified as highly important when deciding to buy Australian products.
“For Australian businesses to harness e-commerce, logistics plays an important role. Delivery and returns are important part of the customer experience. That’s why it is so important to have reliable and fast shipping that gives Chinese shoppers the confidence to buy from Australia,” said Mr Garner.
Authorised sales channels and effective marketing key in China
The credibility of product listings is a key influencer for Chinese online shoppers, with 79 per cent stating they would buy more Australian products if they were available on Chinese global online marketplaces, such as Tmall global. At the same time, six in ten shoppers considered online payment safety (61 per cent) and product authenticity (60 per cent) as paramount when deciding whether to make an online Australian purchase.
“Buying Australian products online comes down to trust. This research indicates secure payment, authenticity and seller recommendations are more important to Chinese online shoppers than price and brand. It’s important to have a world-leading product, but selling it through the right channels is also crucial,” said Mr Garner. “Equally critical is leveraging Australia’s strong national image through effective marketing. Our research shows that nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Chinese online shoppers like buying Australian-made as our way of life is appealing and over half (59 per cent) agree they are more likely to buy brands if their favourite celebrities on social media use them.”