Vitamins dominate the league table of Australian brands selling online to China, according to a study of Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform.
The top six Australian brands over 2016 were Chemist Warehouse, Swisse, Blackmores, NaturesWay, the dairy farmer cooperative Devondale and the supermarket Woolworths.
Blackmores has been leading the push of vitamin makers into China. However, partnership with Bega Cheese to sell infant formula to China hasn’t been getting the results expected.
And Bellamy’s, an early winner of infant formula exports to China, has seen sales slump since regulations changed in China.
Woolworths set up as an online retailer in China a year ago after noticing its products were being sold there.
Baby formula bought at Woolworths was being sold online in China at a big markup.
As a country Australia is ranked as fifth behind Japan, the US, Korea and Germany for selling on China’s Tmall Global, according to a study by Tmall Global and CBNData.
The most popular Australian product categories are health and nutritional supplements, milk powder, dietary supplements and coffee.
The number of international brands on Tmall Global, which provides Chinese consumers with a direct channel to overseas retailers, jumped 169% to 14,500 in 2016.
Across Tmall, beauty products are the most popular, followed by food and mother & baby products.
The big spenders are from Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The report showed that a change in personal or family circumstances, the aspiration to experience new things and quality consciousness are the three driving factors behind the booming import consumption.
The majority of customers being driven by trends were new parents, those born after 1990 and people who previously had bought from overseas online platforms.
The report also revealed some unexpected boosts in the sales of some very specific categories.
The vote for Brexit and drop in the value of the British pound brought about a spike in sale of products from the UK.
The screening of a popular Korean TV drama drove the sales of a YSL lipstick that the lead actress wore and a deterioration in air quality boosted the sales of air purifiers.