Alibaba still tops, but watch Pinduoduo and other Chinese online retailers: eMarketer

Online shopping competition heats up in China with Pinduoduo and Vipshop joining JD.com and Suning as notable contenders.

Pinduoduo was launched by former Google engineer Colin Huang in 2015
Pinduoduo was launched by former Google engineer Colin Huang in 2015

eMarketer has released its rankings for Chinese ecommerce platforms where, as expected, has Alibaba taking the top spot with a 58.2% share this year. Its closest competitor JD.com trails behind at a 16.3% share but the report emphasises that the Chinese ecommerce scene has become more dynamic in recent years with the emergence of several new players.

Most notably, specialist sites such as electronics retailer Suning and branded fashion retailer Vipshop, or vip.com are proving to be credible competitors to Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com with their offering of more 'authentic' products. The report also mentions Gome, a social marketing-based online and offline retailer specialising in home goods which is expected to take a 0.7% share of all retail ecommerce sales this year.

Group discount site Pinduoduo, meanwhile, has been identified as a rising star, coming at third with an 5.2% share. It marks a significant leap for the platform from its 0.1 share during its launch in 2015. eMarketer notes that Pinduoduo’s strategy has been concentrated on shoppers from Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities who are more price conscious but nevertheless enthusiastic about the convenience of online shopping.

“Smaller ecommerce players such as relative newcomer Pinduoduo have benefitted from this trend as buyers in lower-tier cities have been less tolerant of the higher prices found on large players such as Alibaba and JD.com, but they are quick to seize upon the relative deals found on Pinduoduo’s platform,” Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior director of forecasting.

Despite signs of a more dynamic market, the Chinese ecommerce scene is seen as a proxy battleground between Alibaba and Tencent since the latter owns stakes in JD.com, Pinduoduo and Vipshop. All the ecommerce platforms listed by eMarketer will account for 85% of all ecommerce sales in China this year.

 

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