Ecommerce overview – successful products in a China online shop

The West is in fashion in China. Consumers hunger for our products and the lifestyles that are associated with them. Companies doing business in China have found that they are able to command much higher premiums for their products thanks to the quality and status Western products are perceived to hold. Could your product become the next essential item in a China online shop? We take a look at just three product categories that are performing particularly well in China to give you an idea of the market conditions.

Designer goods

We’ve mentioned several times before that China is a Masculine society. This is very important in determining what sort of products succeed in the online markets. Just like with Western consumers, designer goods display wealth and status. However, Chinese people do not view their homes in the same way, unlike westerners who often like to invite their friends around to demonstrate their financial status. Therefore in China, it is the designer brands that you wear that show your status and level of income.

Interestingly medium-range brands have not performed well in China. Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap have both struggled to perform well whilst doing business in China. Simply looking good is not enough – consumers want to either get something as cheap as possible, or buy something that is recognised as a luxury item. The market in between these two opposites barely exists in China (source: Mashable).

Baby Products

The belief that Western products are of a higher quality and are better made has seen many Chinese mothers choosing imported foreign baby products over domestic brands. Chinese parents are choosing imported baby formula in particular over domestic brands, as several recent scandals and health scares regarding tainted products have cast doubt over the safety of these domestic products (source: Want China Times). Perhaps the most serious scandal was in 2008 where baby formula was found to contain melamine – a compound often used in the production of fertilisers, plastics and dyes – after several infants died and hundreds of thousands left with kidney damage. Since then western baby products have seen a huge surge in demand (source: Journal of American Society of Nephrology).


Just as with baby products, cosmetics produced by Western companies are seen to be not only of a higher quality than Chinese domestic brands, but also safer. Chinese women are trusting Western beauty products, and this trust has led to several Western brands becoming market leaders. While generally the market is quite crowded, which has led to Revlon and Garnier withdrawing, Western brands are succeeding at finding a market niche and profiting from it. French beauty company Lacôme is one of the market leaders in China. Part of this success could be thanks to its extensive use of the social network Weibo to develop a loyal fan base (source: MavSocial).

(Image source: ‘Online Shopping’ |