Even with the pandemic and the exchange rate fluctuation, online shopping from China is a growing trend that will continue to grow for a long time.
The search for products from China has not started recently, but the proof that this trend is far from fading has become more evident during the pandemic. Companies like Alibaba showed an exponential increase in revenue, breaking records on special events such as Singles’ Day, a famous shopping date that has been gaining ground to solidify itself as one of the main events for e-commerce each year.
To illustrate the size of such growth, the Chinese giant Alibaba, which includes AliExpress among its brands, racked up USD 75 billion in sales only on Singles’ Day with actions that included the Brazilian market. This figure represents more than three times the annual sales of Brazilian e-commerce.
Growth of AliExpress in Brazil
“China is the future of Brazil in terms of e-commerce,” says Yan Di, general officer of AliExpress in Brazil, in an interview with Exame magazine. The company is attentive to opportunities in Brazil and says that 2020 was the best year of its operation in Brazil. It did not announce the figures for the year in the country but says it felt an increase of up to 130% in some relevant categories. According to the officer, in Brazil, the marketplace is popular with younger people and individuals with high purchasing power – 60% of users are under 30 years old and spend around BRL 1,900 per month with online shopping.
Aiming at this ever-growing market, AliExpress has invested heavily in logistics to reduce product delivery time, from 90 days to an average of 30 days, which attracts many more consumers who were previously afraid of the delay of products. In addition to logistics, bearing in mind this growing demand, the company has been offering services in Portuguese and Brazil’s main payment methods, such as payment slip (boleto).
History of e-commerce between China and Brazil
The demand of Brazilian consumers for Chinese products follows a trend observed in recent years. According to the Beyond Borders report, 50% of consumers increased the number of orders placed on international websites compared to 2018-2019. This survey interviewed three thousand consumers on international websites. Half of the interviewees increased the frequency of shopping on international websites from 2018 to 2019.
Cross-border e-commerce is the new sensation among Brazilians
According to eBit|Nielsen’s Webshoppers 41 annual report, Brazilian e-commerce produced approximately BRL 61.9 billion in 2019, with BRL 12.9 billion in sales from cross-border websites. This means that the online operations of players from abroad in Brazil account for only 17% of the total sales volume, and the majority of sales are still via national platforms.
According to Ebit|Nielsen, Brazilian e-commerce increased by 47% in the first half of the year, thus doubling its total retail share in the year. The consolidated numbers for 2020 will be confirmed soon and tend to be way up, considering the disruptive scenario that the entire digital industry has experienced, mainly due to social distancing, thus breaking multiple records and consolidating e-commerce on many people’s daily lives.
Seeing the potential of cross-border e-commerce, Brazilian companies have started taking action so as not to lose share to international players. Magazine Luiza, Via Varejo and B2W, started to invest heavily in payment methods, applications and logistics for their own sales and marketplaces of products coming mainly from China to maintain their relevance in the country and following the example of what international players do.
The biggest challenge for companies is to offer a competitive price, as 66.7% of consumers shopping on Asian websites take into account the price of products as their main selection criteria, followed by experience and the lack of available alternatives in the Brazilian market.
With 8 years of a growing demand for products from Asia, this trend survives even the exchange rate fluctuations and the pandemic, which shows that the demand for Chinese offers is here to stay.
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