Women Drive O2O Commerce In China

While the world was celebrating the most recent International Women’s Day earlier this week, news out of one particular country showed just how significant of an impact females are having on online-to-offline (O2O) commerce.

China Daily reports that, according to a new study from group-buying eCommerce website Baidu Nuomi, women in the country — despite accounting for a minority 46 percent of China’s overall Internet use — are responsible for 62 percent of revenue derived from O2O.

The fact that women can have such a substantial role in driving eCommerce, even in a region where men make up the majority of online users, makes it abundantly clear how important it is for any retailer — in any part of the world — that is looking to build out its online-to-offline platform to attract and retain female shoppers.

That’s the sentiment put forth by Baidu Nuomi itself (which, according to China Daily, accounts for one-fifth of all O2O sales in China on a daily basis), with Tang Lihua, a director at the company, telling the outlet: “We plan to provide more baby-related and beauty-related services and products, for instance, in order to further grow our business, as we think that’s likely to be [a] strong selling point for women.”

Not only have females in China been outspending their male counterparts in O2O since the beginning of 2015 (according to the study), Baidu Nuomi’s data indicates that women’s lead in that regard continues to widen, a rate that has been shown to increase notably during major shopping events in the country, such as Qixi (Chinese Valentine’s Day).

In addition to the beauty category that Tang mentioned, the report showed that female Chinese consumers are outspending males in retail areas, including gyms, leisure and hotels.

The China Daily story shares that the top three O2O categories for women in China, according to the Baidu Nuomi report, are presently restaurants, travel and movies.

It’s the assessment of Gao Shuang, an analyst with China Internet Network Information Center, that the decisive factor that has put women ahead of men in the country’s O2O consumer spend is, well, decisiveness — in the sense that that is a characteristic that females exhibit in their shopping habits more commonly than men.

“[Women] are not only buying for themselves,” Gao told China Daily, “they are also shopping for their parents, their husbands and children.”

Zhou Shu, a senior executive at the restaurant chain Yuxiang Renjia, told the outlet that she has witnessed that, in her industry as well, female consumers appear, by and large, to have more decision-making power than males.

Additionally, commented Zhou, ”[Women] are more willing to try new services and new products.”

“Most importantly, though,” she added, “they are happy to communicate and exchange their feedback after eating at a new restaurant, which makes them more influential in the O2O market.”

As is perhaps to be expected from the data that Baidu Nuomi put forth, the number of female shoppers in China has grown sharply in recent years, with the study showing that the 180 million that were accounted for in 2015 was more than double what the number was in 2010.

Also contributing to the majority influence of women in China’s eCommerce is the fact that — as the study shows — despite being less frequent online users than men in general, females in the country do more shopping when they are online than the national average: 4.17 hours a day for women, compared to 3.74 daily hours across all Internet users.


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