Dominant in e-commerce in North America and a leader in Europe, Amazon.com Inc.’s China subsidiary operates in China in the shadow of that country’s dominant online retail company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Amazon is trying to carve out its niche in China by bringing China’s emerging class goods from overseas brands.
The number of international brands selling on Amazon.cn grew 30% in 2014, and 55 international brands that sells exclusively on amazon.cn in China grew sales 17-fold in 2014, Amazon China disclosed in a recent year-end report.
“We offer Chinese consumers tens of millions of products from the global market,” says Amazon China president Douglas Gurr. “In 2014, the number of international brands Amazon sold to Chinese consumers increased more than 14-fold and we expanded same-day and second-day delivery coverage areas by nearly five times.”
While Amazon did not name any of the brands that sell exclusively on Amazon.cn, some of the brands featured on that site include fashion designers Rebecca Minkoff, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, and items from such U.S. companies as accessories brand Latico, skin care product maker Dermablend and shoe companies Crocs and Skechers.
Amazon China, No.4 in the Internet Retailer China 500, said in the report that its strategy for the next 10 years will focus on selling international products, providing high-quality products offering worry-free delivery. The e-retailer noted that there is growing demand for imported products, citing a tripling of sales in 2014 on Amazon.cn of wines from France and the United States.
Consumers in China, a country plagued by air and water pollution, are also buying products designed to keep them healthy, Amazon says. Sales of air-purification products increased 50% on Amazon.cn in 2014 over 2013, and sales of water-purification products doubled.
The fastest-growing product categories on Amazon.cn are wine, Kindle e-book readers and tablets, musical instruments, pet products, food, sporting goods, shoes and health products, Amazon says. Another fast-growing area are so-called “smart” products that connect to the Internet, such as bracelets and watches, and devices that connect to mobile phones via Bluetooth wireless technology and web-connected devices for the home. Listings of such products grew 33-fold on Amazon.cn in 2014.
Like Alibaba and other leading e-commerce sites in China, Amazon notes that more sales are coming from smaller cities. Sales from outside of the four so-called “top-tier” cities—Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen—account for about 65% of sales on Amazon.cn.
Mobile devices and social networks are also playing a bigger role in its online sales, Amazon China says. Sales from shoppers coming from social networks increased 81% in 2014, Amazon says. While not providing data on its mobile sales, Amazon China says the prime times for shopping on mobile devices in China are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.Favorite