Singles' Day data shows online shoppers prefer mobile to computers

Updated: 2016-11-14 11:00


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BEIJING - More Chinese are using mobile devices to shop online than ever before, with more choosing to shop from their handsets than their computers during Friday's Singles' Day shopping event.

Chinese splurged more than 120 billion yuan ($17.6 billion) online on leading online market place Alibaba in the annual buying spree, with about 82 percent of all transaction made on mobile terminals, rising from about 70 percent last year.

The country's second largest e-commerce giant,, saw about 85 percent of all its orders made on smart devices Friday. Users in the less developed central and western region posted the strongest growth in this regard, suggesting that many went straight to these devices without having first used PCs.

A recent global survey by KPMG said Chinese consumers lead the global transition to m-commerce, with nearly a quarter of Chinese shoppers preferring to use mobile phones to make their online purchases, compared to 5.2 percent of US customers and 8.5 percent globally.

"Although desktops and laptops are still the most commonly used devices for shopping globally, with smartphone use in China skyrocketing, we expect m-commerce to become the preferred medium for many consumers throughout their entire shopping journey, encompassing initial product research, purchase and final payment, as well as product review," said Jessie Qian, Partner-in-charge with Consumer Markets of KPMG China.

China had over 650 million mobile Internet users by the end of June this year about 710 million people were Internet users.

In addition to the large mobile Internet community, another key driver for m-commerce growth is confidence in the security of third-party payments.

About one-third of Chinese respondents said payment options were the most important factor when deciding where to shop online, the survey pointed out.

Singles' Day data released by Alibaba showed that over 10 billion orders were paid via its third-party payment service Alipay, an increase of about 50 percent year on year, while mobile payments accounted for about 83 percent of all orders of, another e-commerce player.

International accounting firm PwC revealed in a global survey that nearly one-third of Chinese respondents preferred mobile payment.

Figures for 2015 showed that 32 percent of Chinese respondents preferred mobile payments, double the previous year.

PwC attributed the the rise to explosive growth of mobile payment options and methods, as well as the development of mobile network systems and e-commerce.

"As the market competition intensifies, we see that technology continuously changes the way consumers assess and purchase products. Mobile payment market players are attracting users with continuous innovation of technology and business models designed to seize access to mobile payments, foster beneficial user habits and establish a closed loop from Online to Offline," said Guo Yuqing, PwC China PwC Financial Service Consulting Partner.

There are challenges, however. Over 60 percent of respondents were about the safety of their personal information when using mobile phone payment apps, the PwC report showed.

PwC expects China's retail industry to post a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent between 2016 and 2020 while future growth in the mobile payments sector will continue to increase as smartphone use and technology advance.