Australia has booked a spot in the top five countries selling products into China through TMall Global in 2016, but the Alibaba-owned online retail platform’s users and favourite products are changing rapidly.
A report by TMall Global and CBNData into the size and shape of Alibaba’s global marketplace found ranked Australia in fifth position for selling the most products into China on TMall, behind Germany, Korea, the US and Japan.
Japan came out on top for the year. Its most popular product category, beauty products and serums, was in line with TMall Global’s most popular sales sector overall—beauty supplies.
Chemist Warehouse, Swisse and Blackmores were the best performing Australian brands on TMall in 2016. The country’s top product categories were health and nutrition products, milk powder, snacks and dietary supplements, and coffee and instant beverages.
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Infant formula and milk product sales into China have been making headlines at the start of 2017 as ASX-listed company Bellamy’s falls on difficult times after a stellar two-year run, but it’s not just Australia delivering these products to the Chinese market. Germany’s top product sold through TMall last year was milk powder, while the US also had a strong presence on the platform in the “baby formula and snacks” category, according to the report.
The research indicates that while exporters jockey for the number one spot on the site, TMall Global’s audience is getting younger. More than 50% of the site’s new users last year were born after 1988, while close to a third came from third and fourth-tier Chinese cities, suggesting the site’s audience is rapidly changing.
TMall carries goods from 63 countries, with many brands debuting in the Chinese market through the platform. Australian SMEs have been keeping a close eye on Alibaba’s offerings and advice for breaking into China through online sales, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inking a deal with Alibaba chairman Jack Ma last year to help local companies gain access to China through the retail giant’s platforms.