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Social Media Powers Much of China's Booming Online Commerce

In China, three-quarters of online shoppers make e-purchases at least weekly, according to a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers. And mobile is king. Of those online shoppers, 77 percent made at least some of their purchases online using smartphones.

Social Media Powers Much of China's Booming Online Commerce

Meanwhile, social media is increasingly an important force for defining taste and driving purchases in China (even as government censorship limits online political discussion). Eighty-six percent of survey respondents in China told PWC that they use social media platforms, such as Tencentís Weixin (WeChat), to collect information about brands or to make purchases directly.

Chinaís new middle class has shown greater eagerness to shop online than consumers in all other countries surveyed. In the U.S., just a quarter of online shoppers make weekly purchases, and only 29 percent shop using their mobile phones. While the U.S. is home to social-media powerhouses Facebook and Twitter, just 29 percent of American online shoppers told PWC that they gather brand information or make purchases through social media platforms.

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