Online meets offline
Digital technology and e-commerce have revolutionised the way the world does business and paved the way for a more convenient and personalised consumer journey. Gradually we’re entering a generation of on-demand, ushering in seamless payment experiences, where transactions can be made anytime, anywhere.
China has been leading the world in online payments for a long time now and have adopted new methods of cashless payments at a much faster rate than any other economy. The two big players, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have led the way in this revolution and helped dethrone the concept of ‘cash as king’. In turn, they have allowed consumers to go straight from cash to smartphone, leapfrogging the use of credit cards and cheques.
The iResearch Consulting Group forecasts, which measures online audiences in China, predict that annual online transactions in China will reach 116.7 trillion yuan this year. This equates to almost 50 times Hong Kong’s domestic growth product.
Here are some other key facts to highlight the prevalence of digital payments in China:
- Two-thirds of smartphone users in China now pay via mobile
- In 2017, mobile payment transactions in China reached 81 trillion yuan (US$12.8 trillion)
- Alipay and WeChat Pay dominate with 54% and 40% market share of mobile payments
Not surprisingly, citizens in China are now readily embracing the prospect of payment implant technology. Contrastingly, this is an idea met with scepticism in Australia, with only 26% of respondents saying they would consider a chip implant. To further highlight this enormous regional disparity, 62% of Chinese respondents (compared to 33% in Australia) are comfortable exchanging their data for more personalised experiences and products.
The ‘New Retail’ model in China, a blend of online and offline, further reflects the growing sentiment towards more enhanced and integrated consumer experiences. Alibaba’s Hema supermarket, for example, is not your typical grocery store. Instead it’s characterised by experiential retail and retail entertainment, using technology to redefine every touch point of the customer journey. Customers can scan a product bar code and instantly receive product information, payments are made through cashless methods, and if you live within a 3km radius of the supermarket, your items can be delivered to your home in less than 30 minutes. With new innovations comes heightened consumer expectations; according to the report, 88% of Chinese respondents now expect online purchases or courier services to be delivered in 24 hours or less.