Changes in e-commerce set to revamp entire retail industry

The total trade turnover of China’s e-commerce market in 2016 amounted to 26.1 trillion yuan ($3.81 trillion), an increase of 19.8 percent year-on-year, according to the 2016 China E-commerce Report released on May 29 at the 2017 China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

Compared with the surge in e-commerce over the past five years that has averaged 34 percent annually, 2016 showed an obvious fall, indicating China’s e-commerce entering a period of steady development, said Nie Linhai, inspector at the Department of Electronic Commerce and Information of the Ministry of Commerce.

According to the report, the users of online shopping applications and platforms reached 467 million, accounting for 63.8 percent of all Chinese netizens.

“But the growth rate of Chinese netizens is slowing down. New impetus in e-commerce consumption won’t emerge unless the participants in e-commerce can break the bottleneck of the sluggish browsing volume,” Nie said.

E-commerce in 2016 indeed indicated some new phenomena, however, according to Nie.

First, it facilitates supply-side structural reform. By precise calculation through real-time monitoring and big data analysis, information about demand can guide the volume of supply, for more efficient, personalized service.

As the digital economy shows rapid growth amid implementation of the Internet Plus strategy all over the country, e-commerce has become a significant part of it.

Second, the traditional retail industry is transforming. From the circulation channels and supply chains, to data collection and trading, the online and offline aspects are gradually opening up for each other, pointing to a convergence of their further development. In 2016, with social network e-commerce featuring web celebrities, WeChat business reached a new level.

Online retailers and social networking platforms have been integrated with pictures, video and live broadcasting.

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