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Women fuelling e-commerce in China

12 January 2012 - 13:40 by Sarah Collinson

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Chinese women are the driving force behind the growth of safe shopping online in this rapidly expanding nation, with 44 per cent of those living in the most affluent cities now indulging in e-commerce on a regular basis.

In the smaller, less prosperous urban areas, levels for e-commerce are slightly lower at around 23 per cent, although this is almost double the amount that was seen five years ago.

Each year an average Chinese woman will spend the equivalent of around £214. This may be small compared to an equivalent consumer in the UK, but on a relative scale, it is definitely a significant sum, which shows how safe shopping online will soon become a major industry in the east.

In a report published by MEC China, it was announced that 56 per cent of people are turning to the internet in order to discover information about brands, companies and saleable items.

Seventy-three per cent of respondents to the survey said that involving themselves in new experiences was vital to remaining happy and productive, which is perhaps why the internet is growing in popularity.

Fifty-two per cent of those who already indulge in e-commerce believe that by doing so they are being fashionable and contemporary in their actions, which does suggest that there are other motivations for using online shopping in China.

While most people in the UK treat e-commerce sites as a convenient and cheap alternative to the high street, it seems as if buying something on the internet is a badge of sophistication for those living in China, because internet access is far from universal.

The problems with censorship which plague the web in China are also far less of an issue for UK consumers, where net neutrality is seen as something to be protected.