Taiwan, China flag Taiwan, China: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Taiwan, China


Internet access
It is estimated that by 2017, 84.8% of Taiwan’s population had access to the internet. The majority of Taiwan internet users log on using a mobile phone (68.8%), personal computer (56.3%), notebook (22.4%) or tablet PC (17%). According to surveys carried out by the National Development Council of Taiwan, household use of the internet rose 2.6% in 2017 from the previous year. Among the internet using population, more than 97% used wireless or mobile internet, which means that less than 3% of internet users restrict their internet use to landline connections at the home or office. The most popular search engines in terms of the market share are Google (89.9%), Yahoo! (8.99%), Bing (0.9%), Baidu (0.12%), MSN (0.03%) and Shenma (0.02%).
E-commerce market
The e-commerce market in Taiwan has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years, with a market value of US$ 37.6 billion in 2016, and a 5-year average growth rate of 10-20%. It is predicted that Taiwan’s online retail platforms will eventually overtake sales in physical retail stores, accounting for more than half of the multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Taiwan’s e-commerce penetration rate is one of the highest in the world, which naturally entails a large market of sophisticated consumers who are familiar with global trends. Taiwan’s e-commerce market possesses a comprehensive infrastructure, and the money flow and distribution service providers make transactions easy. Recent changes in Taiwan’s e-commerce include incorporating live broadcast promotion on social media, expanding service and payment options and using big data and artificial intelligence to combine e-commerce platforms with traditional retail outlets.
E-commerce sales and customers
E-commerce has been gaining popularity in Taiwan, with 4.5 out every 10 purchases made online in 2017, according to a poll by the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute. Online buying was particularly strong in the 21-45 age group last year. Despite the high ratio of online transactions, the annual survey found that the average value of online purchases fell slightly from US$ 946 in 2016 to US$ 863 last year. The decline was due largely to an annual 36% drop in online buying by people aged 41-55, who have more spending power. In the 26-30 age group, however, average online transactions rose 14% from a year earlier. The most popular product categories bought by consumers from local e-commerce platforms are clothing and accessories (20.5%), food products (20%), beauty and skin care (17.8%), computers and electronics (14.9%), furniture (14.1%) and household products (12.6%). According to the same survey, 59.1% of buyers in Taiwan receive product information from shopping websites, 40.2% from Google searches, 26.7% from Facebook, 25.9% from price comparison websites and 16.8% from other portals. As for payment methods, 75.7% of consumers used credit cards as their preferred method of online payment.
Social media
In 2016, Taiwan recorded a high social media penetration rate estimated at 77%. Taiwan also leads in Facebook and Twitter penetration with a rate of 67%. Social media have become extremely important to marketing products sold online in Taiwan. Facebook is the preferred method of digital marketing, with 63.4% of online vendors choosing to use it as a major marketing tool. The most popular social networks are, by market share, Facebook (92.75%), Youtube (2.96%), Twitter (1.1%), Pinterest (1.06%), Instagram (0.86%) and Tumblr (0.4%).

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Latest Update: March 2023

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