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Amazon hopes for bright spot on Black Friday

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-15 08:36

People are seen standing in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York, Feb 14, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Tech behemoth Amazon.com Inc is banking on Black Friday, which falls on Nov 29 this year, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, to boost cross-border online purchases, as Chinese consumers, especially those living in the third-and fourth-tier cities, display a fast-growing purchasing power for high-quality goods from overseas.

The company kicked off its biggest-ever Black Friday promotion on Thursday by offering tens of thousands of quality products from Amazon's four sites in the US, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, as well as speeding up logistics and delivery operations.

Sales revenue on Amazon Global Store, its cross-border shopping platform, achieved double-digit growth in the first three quarters of 2019, with clothing, personal care products, cosmetics and shoes favored by Chinese shoppers, said Li Yanchuan, vice-president of Amazon China.

Statistics from Amazon showed that cross-border e-commerce is penetrating into the lower-tier cities across the nation, with sales from third-and fourth-tier cities witnessing the fastest growth this year.

Huaian in Jiangsu province, Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang province and Fushun in Liaoning province are the top three cities in sales growth.

Somana Konganda, head of Amazon Global Store, said in an earlier interview that he is optimistic about the business in China, while noting the company will double down on its presence in the Chinese market.

China saw strong growth in retail imports via cross-border e-commerce platforms in the first three quarters of this year. Cross-border e-commerce retail imports volume expanded over 30 percent year-on-year during this period, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

Demand for quality imported goods with specific added value is higher due to maturing consumption patterns and increasing income in third-to fifth-tier cities, as well as growing coverage by convenient, efficient e-commerce channels, according to a report released by consultancy Deloitte, China Chamber of International Commerce and AliResearch, the research arm of Alibaba.

The number of cross-border consumers continues to grow as the sector develops, and younger generation under 30 years-old make up the largest consumer segment for imported goods, the report said.

"China's emphasis on robust policies for imported consumer goods has boosted confidence in the sector and stimulated consumers' appetite. At the same time, consumers' desire for diversified, personalized and quality goods is being increasingly satisfied and unlocked," said Zhang Tianbing, head of Deloitte Asia-Pacific consumer products and retail industry.

Market consultancy iiMedia Research said the country's cross-border online shopping reached 9.1 trillion yuan ($1.29 trillion) in sales last year. This figure is expected to rise to 10.8 trillion yuan in 2019.

Chen Tao, an analyst with Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said Black Friday, as a cross-border shopping carnival has been growing in popularity in China, but its size is small compared with China's homegrown Singles Day shopping extravaganza.

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