Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, daigou – essentially a form of surrogate shopping where buyers/exporters  outside  of China  purchase items such as infant formula and health supplements, usually in large quantities, for consumers residing in  China – was known to be an essential form of cross-border e-commerce (CBEC).

Many brands used this channel to gain entry into the Chinese market, which has traditionally been difficult to enter plus navigate.

But since the pandemic hit and supply chains have increased significantly in complexity, the particular appeal and utilisation of this route is no longer as straightforward, and this has opened up the doors for other marketing channels like social media to gain a stronger foothold.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic entered the particular picture, the overall daigou business volume is estimated to have dropped by some 80%, ” ​BYHEALTH International Head of Sales and Marketing Jesse Gu told the floor at the recent Growth Asia Summit 2022.

“A good number of the top daigou firms possess converted in order to other forms associated with sales plus marketing, and today the current CBEC sales channels can mostly be divided in to Traditional web commerce i. e. by big online platforms such because Alibaba, JD and Pinduoduo; and what is called Interests ecommerce i. electronic. sales via social media systems for example Douyin (Tiktok China) and Kuaishou.

“The Interests e-commerce platforms especially have been on the rise since the outbreak – taking a look at Douyin for example, in the first six months of 2022 the particular total GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) will be estimated at CNY57. 57bn (US$7. 9bn), of which CNY26. 79bn (US$3. 70bn) came from live streaming product sales conversion plus CNY1. 45bn (US$200mn) came from short videos sales conversion. ”

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