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Title: Convenience and E-retail Consumers in China and Sweden
Authors: Sundström, Malin
Balkow, Jenny
Department: University of Borås. School of Business and IT
Issue Date: 7-Nov- 12
Citation: Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference, Lund, Sweden, 7-8 nov
Media type: text
Publication type: conference paper, other
Keywords: E-Commerce
consumer behavior
Subject Category: Subject categories::Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research Group: Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing
Area of Research: Handel
Strategic Research Area: Business and IT
Abstract: The dream of 1,3 billion customers has now entered the online phase. After a slow start, the number of online shoppers in China has started to accelerate. The estimates are that there are some 450 million Internet users in China today (Muncaster, 2012; Xinhua, 2012, BCG 2011) but the estimates of the number of online shoppers range from 150 million (Kearney, 2012) to the recent estimates made by PWC of that indicates that 70% of the Chinese internet users are also shopping online. Considering that the growing middle class is expected to reach 800 million by 2015 and the recently revealed plans to subsidise high-speed Internet access also in rural areas , the Boston Consulting Group projects that China will be able to surpass the US to become the largest e-commerce market in the world by that same time, which might lead to wonder if retailers are missing China’s e-commerce boom. Like always, in order to avoid missing a market opportunity, the need for knowledge about the why, how, and when of consumer buying behavior is a main ingredient. We believe the first question of “why” (Chinese consumers sometimes buy from the Internet) is a good starting point. In a survey made by the Acquity Group that covered 1000 respondents in 150 Chinese cities three main reasons for why Chinese engage in e-commerce was outlined (Indvik, 2012) namely greater product selection, the ability to compare prices and, finally, convenience. However, the meaning of convenience in the context of e-commerce contains different meanings. Previous studies made in Sweden have shown that a convenient e-commerce purchase differs according to the buying situation and customer motives. Sometimes e-customers want to save time and energy, sometimes they search for a greater supply of products, and sometimes they want to be anonymous (Sundström, 2007). The objective in this paper is thus to make an initial study in order to create an understanding of how Chinese e-commerce customers perceive the concept of convenience. The empirical data presented is collected with a qualitative approach, using drawings which are analyzed. The sample comes from both Chinese and Swedish consumers based on the mission to “draw a picture of how they thought of the Internet store in terms of convenience”. The methodology using drawings come from the design field (Yi-Luien Do et al., 2000) and from the field of psychiatry (Wojaczynska-Stanek et al., 2008). To supplement the drawings group interviews with Chinese consumers. The convenience illustrations are analysed with the help of a theoretical framework based on prior academic literature on retail store convenience, and existing literature on e-convenience, benefits of convenience, convenience in the context of technological innovations, and convenient decision making. Results indicate that great product selection and the possibility to compare prices were important to the Chinese consumers but that the time factor was of outmost important both to female and male respondents. Considering the traffic in central cities and the distance between home/workplace to the shops are time consuming. The structure of the retail market also makes shopping time consuming since the traditional markets are often divided by industry, which means that you buy cloths in one area and consumer technology in another. It also shows how shopping online is a more social occurrence since the respondents gather up around the computer to buy together and to discuss the purchase. The paper ends with a discussion on how knowledge about consumer-convenience could contribute when performing empirical studies focusing on how consumers perceive the use of self-service-technologies in a Chinese retail setting.
Sustainable development: -
Appears in Collections:Konferensbidrag / Conference papers (Business Administration)

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