(This story has been corrected to reflect that the value of purchases placed on Tmall Global increased 179 percent in the December quarter.)
International online shopping surged in popularity among Chinese consumers last year, according to a report from Tmall Global, Alibaba Group’s cross-border shopping platform.
The value of purchases placed through Tmall Global—a Chinese-language e-commerce platform that provides Western merchants with a simplified channel for selling directly to mainland consumers—jumped 179 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2015, compared with same period in 2014. The total monetary value of purchases was not disclosed.
Growing demand for top foreign brands among Chinese consumers was underscored by high sales growth in product categories such as baby food and baby care, health and nutritional supplements and personal care products, according to the 2015 China Cross-Border Consumption Report from Tmall Global and CBN Data.
Cross-border shopping in recent years has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the e-commerce market, with China ranking as one of the top countries for cross-border activity. According to a PayPal study conducted by Ipsos in October 2015, 36 percent of Internet users in China had made a cross-border purchase in the previous 12 months.
Tmall Global has been positioning itself as a relatively low-cost way to enter the Chinese market. Foreign merchants do not need a Chinese business license to join the platform, which also offers retailers international logistics and China marketing solutions.
The platform last year attracted a number of high-profile international retailers and brands, among them U.S. department store operator Macy’s, Japanese beauty products giant Shiseido Group, U.K. supermarket chain Sainbury’s, U.S. infant care company Huggies, and Paris-based food-products multinational Danone. Some four out of five brands that debuted on Tmall Global last year had not been available in China before.
At the end of 2015, Tmall Global offered more than 5,400 international brands from 53 countries and regions.
For more highlights from the Tmall Global/CBN Data report, check out this infographic: