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Gen Z pushes social commerce boom

CHINA DAILY – DHgate, a Chinese cross-border business-to-business e-commerce platform, is doubling down on the fast-growing social commerce sector, which means a person’s entire shopping experience – from product discovery to the check-out process – takes place on a social media platform, as part of its broader push to accelerate the digital transformation of traditional global trade.

China’s Generation Z consumers, those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, have shown a rising demand for personalised, niche and intelligent products, said Founder, Chairperson and CEO of DHgate Diane Wang adding the company attaches great importance to the purchasing power of the younger generation.

According to her, the sales of intelligent equipment, such as robot vacuum cleaners, scooters and wearable devices via the online platform of DHgate surged more than 200 per cent year-on-year in 2021.

Gen Z accounts for one-third of the global population, becoming the largest generation group in the world, said a survey conducted by data.ai, a United States (US)-based mobile analytics company. Their strong willingness to consume is leading the global consumption trend and bringing great changes to global trade.

“As for the booming social commerce segment, we aim to help Chinese manufacturers, brands, and small and medium-sized enterprises access global private domain channels, as well as empower Gen-Zers and content creators, including Internet celebrities, key opinion consumers and brand owners,” Wang said.

The global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce to USD1.2 trillion by 2025, said global consultancy Accenture. The growth is predicted to be driven primarily by Gen Z and millennial social media users, accounting for 62 per cent of global social commerce spending by 2025.

DHgate is exploring new possibilities in the cross-border e-commerce industry driven by social media. It launched MyyShop, a social commerce software-as-a-service or SaaS platform in 2020, which connects Chinese supply chains with people owning substantial private domain traffic or influencers on social networking platforms worldwide.

Myyshop also provides social media-based services, such as artificial intelligence-powered smart product selection and smart logistics services, and helps micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially entry-level merchants and individuals with social influence, run their online stores as direct sellers.

Wang said the relationship between production and consumption in the global trade and the global supply chain is being reshaped in the social commerce era. “Everyone can participate with a much lower entrance level, including small and micro-entrepreneurs and social media creators.”

She added the number of active users on MyyShop increased 76.3 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, while the number of paying users rose 65.6 per cent year-on-year, with the gross merchandise value, or GMV, skyrocketing by 845.5 per cent on a yearly basis.

“Currently, MyyShop works with more than 50,000 influencers and content creators worldwide. Our goal is to reach 500,000 influencers and content creators across the globe this year,” Wang said.

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