What you need to know

The New Retail market is in good shape and experienced a CAGR of more than 30% between 2014 and 2019. The online channel, including shopping websites and super-fast delivery platforms, will become increasingly important in the sales of consumer goods. Meanwhile, the merging of online and offline in consumers’ shopping experience continues.

The good news is that the majority of consumers have already tried and felt the benefits of the new tools designed for omnichannel retailing. In addition, live streaming and information feeds have made product discovery more fun, interactive and efficient. Streamlined loyalty programs have also helped reinforce fans’ loyalty to brands by rewarding them for their interaction with the brands anywhere and anytime. Looking to the future, Mintel predicts that consumers from lower tier cities and strong demand for innovative products from abroad will sustain the growth.

Covered in this report

“New Retail” is most simply defined as the integration of online with bricks-and-mortar in-store retailing to create the most efficient means of providing competitive pricing, wider choice, improved customer service, efficient inventory and delivery of goods. The term was coined by Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma in October 2016 to highlight the obsolescence of thinking of online and offline (in-store) retailing as separate entities. The concept has otherwise previously been known as online-to-offline (O2O) retailing, internet+ or omnichannel retailing.

The scope of online retail e-commerce traditionally comprises B2C (business-to-consumer) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) sales. However, as C2C online retail platforms are increasingly comprised of small businesses and sole traders who act as small businesses, we have continued to include C2C in New Retail, given the understanding that C2C is now, in reality, more b2C (small business-to-consumer).

New Retail also implies the use of new mobile technologies in location-based marketing (especially in-store); mobile phone payment and identification; online retail embedding within social media platforms and apps, and, by extension, retail integration with wider mobile app-enabled consumer services, including OTS (online takeaway services).

New Retail also includes business strategies that draw potential customers from online channels into physical stores, where consumers can experience physical goods in person before buying, and from in-store channels to online shopping portals, for ease of comparison, price checking, finding product information and recommendations. Therefore Mintel combines B2C, C2C and OTS into online New Retail to make comparisons with total retail spending on consumer commodities (the Chinese government’s measure of retail sales), in order to show the growth of New Retail within the China consumer economy.

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