Market size of social e-commerce industry in China 2014-2019

In 2019, the market size of the social commerce sector in China reached approximately 2.06 trillion yuan, nearly doubling from the previous year. The social commerce industry in China boomed in the past five years.

Social media as a new marketing and sales channel

Social commerce is defined as a new type of e-commerce model based on social networking. Commodities were advertised, promoted, or sold on social media platforms.

As the millennials took over the workforce and became the largest group of online shoppers in China, the exponential surge of social e-commerce was to no one’s surprise. From 2014 to 2018, the gross merchandise volume of China’s social commerce market grew by nearly 13 times. The figure was expected to almost double again in the next year.

In 2019, China recorded over a billion active social network users. The most popular social networking platform among Chinese, WeChat, was estimated to generate a sales value of approximately 707 million yuan through its e-commerce business in 2018. In comparison, the rocketing online group discounter Pinduoduo reported 471 million sales.

Sharing and buying

For increasing customer engagement, many social commerce platforms allow their users to share links with their friends for securing a better price. More than 95 percent of young Pinduoduo users said that they had purchased the items their friends shared with them before.

Social media users in China not only decided what to buy by following the recommendations from their friends but also the endorsement of KOLs (influencers). Respectively, 38 percent and 33 percent of WeChat users had purchased beauty and clothing products following the recommendations of an influencer.

Gross merchandise value of social commerce market in China from 2014 to 2019

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period

2014 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Note: 1 yuan equals approximately 0.14 U.S. dollars and 0.13 euros (as of July 2020).

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Statistics on "Social commerce in China"

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