11 June 2015
O2O Shopping for Electronics and Electrical Appliances in China
- Photo: Some consumers tend to undertake O2O shopping activities (1)
- Photo: Some consumers tend to undertake O2O shopping activities (2)
- Chart: Online-to-Offline Shopping Behaviour_Audio-visual Products
- Chart: Wearable Connected Items
- Chart: Small Kitchen Appliances
- Table: Online-to-Offline Shopping Behaviour, by City (Consumer Electronics)
China is now one of the leading consumer electronics and electrical appliance markets in the world. As the purchasing power of mainland residents, especially the middle class, continues to rise, the demand for high quality consumer electronics and small electrical appliances capable of meeting their daily requirements and raising their living standards is considerable.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) recently conducted a questionnaire-based survey with regard to the consumer market in eight mainland cities. Findings of the survey show that about 20% of the respondents used online platforms for their latest purchase of consumer electronics and small electrical appliances. But more consumers check out the product and its in-store and online prices before committing to a purchase at their preferred shop or website.
As regards shopping for consumer electronics, 29% of the respondents undertake this O2O (online-to-offline) shopping activity, of which, some would visit physical stores first to choose and feel the product before making comparisons online and then returning to the physical store to buy. Some would also make enquiries online before making direct purchase online. A smaller portion would make a choice at physical stores first before buying online; while a few would pick their preferred product online before visiting physical stores to feel the product and then going back to the online shop to buy.
Notably, when buying audio-visual products, only 23% of consumers would make purchases this way; but when buying wearable/connected items, 34% of consumers would make purchases this way. Also, 23% of consumers would behave that way when making purchases for small electrical appliances. This shows that when buying wearable/connected items, consumers tend to undertake O2O shopping activities more than when they purchase audio-visual products or electrical appliances. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that making enquiries at physical stores and buying direct at the store remains the most common shopping habit of the majority of consumers purchasing electronics and electrical appliances.
On the other hand, consumers’ O2O behaviours vary from city to city. Taking consumer electronics as an example, more consumers in Shenyang (83%), Guangzhou (83%) and Chengdu (80%) said they would make enquiries about electronic products at physical stores first before making direct purchase there. But in Beijing, only 56% of the respondents said they would buy this way, while almost 26% of them pointed out that they would make enquiries online before making direct purchase online, and the remaining 18% indicated they would make enquiries and comparisons between physical stores and online shops before buying. This shows that the proportion of Beijing consumers undertaking O2O shopping activities is higher than that in other cities.
As such, Hong Kong companies wishing to make use of online resources to effectively explore the mainland market should pay attention to the different O2O shopping habits for different products, while taking care of the different O2O behaviours of consumers in different cities.
(For more details, please see HKTDC Research reports: “China’s Electronics Market: A Consumer Survey of Audio-Visual and Wearable/Connected Items” and “China’s Small Electrical Appliances Market: A Consumer Survey”)
 The HKTDC recently conducted a questionnaire-based survey with regard to the mainland consumer market. The survey focused on eight mainland cities and was carried out between December 2014 and the end of January 2015. The eight cities covered were - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shenyang, Nanjing and Qingdao. A total of 1,621 middle- to upper-class consumers were surveyed. For more details, please see HKTDC Research reports: “China’s Electronics Market: A Consumer Survey of Audio-Visual and Wearable/Connected Items” and “China’s Small Electrical Appliances Market: A Consumer Survey”]
 In this article, consumer electronics means (i) audio-visual products; and (ii) wearable/connected items.