Digital Marketing Researches & Reports

Understanding Digital Commerce in the US & China, Q4 2016 | IAB

E-Commerce & Retail | China

Digital commerce is highly prevalent among the US and Chinese online adults. These two largest economies in the world have reached nearly full adoption of digital commerce among online adults.

Gain a scope of the digital commerce landscape in the US and China through reading the following:

Digital Commerce Landscape:

  • 89% of Chinese & 84% of US online adults have made an online purchase in the past 12 months.
  • 67% of Chinese have purchased online via mobile compared to 34% in the US.
  • China outperforms the US in terms of shoppers make digital purchases daily and weekly proportion.
  • 89% of Chinese are more likely to purchase a product or service with their mobile device in the next month than US shoppers (78%).

Motivations & Barriers to Digital Commerce:

  • Best prices (85%) and the ease of navigating (84%) are the top factors motivate Chinese to shop online, while convenience (82%) & ease to compare (78%) products are the top factors for American.
  • Security of financial & personal information, preference to a tangible experience, and complexity are the top common barriers for both American and Chinese online shoppers.

The Online Purchase Process:

  • 46% of Chinese and 42% of Americans browse online before making any purchases online; while 1 in 4 online purchases are made after browsing in store first.
  • Clothing, shoes, or accessories are the top category bought online in both US (42%) and China (74%).
  • US shoppers pay with credit cards most often (63%), where Chinese shoppers prefer online payment services and mobile wallet (47%).

The Role of Social Media & Emerging Technologies:

  • 90% of online shoppers in China have left a comment/review online after making a purchase, compared to 69% in the US.
  • Social media posts are more influential to Chinese shoppers (63%) than Americans (60%).
The Buying Process in-store and online.

A Figure Shows The Browsing and Buying Process in-Store and Online.


A sample of 2,000 online adults divided equally between the US and China. Half of this sample are online shoppers.


The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, IAB accounts for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing.

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