Social commerce is described as a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media and online media that supports social interaction - with user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.
According to the research data analysed and published by Finaria, the total social commerce sales in China was worth US$242.41 billion in 2020 - accounting for 11.7% of online sales - and it will grow to US$363.26 billion in 2021 and account for a 13.1% share of the eCommerce market.
Finaria forecasts that the US will take the lead in retail sales in 2021, with $5.506 trillion against China’s $5.13 trillion, but that China’s eCommerce sales will outperform the US by a $2 trillion margin.
The total number of social buyers in China was estimated to be 357.2 million in 2020 and it is forecast to increase to 392.2 million in 2021, 420.0 million in 2022 and 446.8 million in 2023.
According to Finaria, the commerce market’s performance is partly attributable to China’s smartphone-driven culture, with most social buyers using mobile devices to shop and most digital storefronts starting out on mobile layouts.
Finaria also reveals that WeChat’s Mini Programs is among the most popular platforms for social commerce.
In 2020, the platform facilitated transactions worth 1.6 trillion yuan (US$250 billion). That was double its 2019 transaction value.
WeChat hosts around 2.3 million Mini Programs, compared to Apple App Store’s 1.96 million and Google Play Store’s 2.87 million.
Finaria notes that based on a study by WeForum, China accounted for over 50% of global online retail sales in 2020 - with the share of online sales in the country’s retail sales going from 20% in 2016 to 44.8% in 2020 - while comparatively, the UK had a 27.7% share while the US had 14.7%.
Lastly, according to eMarketer, 52.1% of China’s retail sales in 2021 will take place online.
It will be the first time that a country records more sales online than offline, with South Korea following with a 28.9% share while the UK will be third with 28.3%, and the US will have a 15% share.