Since internet shops are vying for customers’ attention, many people now think about buying online before purchasing. Numerous publications have been written about online purchasing, and most focus on consumers’ behaviors, activities, and barriers. Chinese customers now have access to the most cutting-edge channels and new internet possibilities thanks to the nation’s quickly rising e-platforms and expanding e-commerce. Internet shopping is, without a doubt, the future of retail for all consumers. International internet buying is one of the most popular company methods. Consumers, particularly young people, and students, are essential to expanding Internet shopping. Therefore, firms must research and consider the factors influencing young people’s and students’ decisions to purchase online. This essay explores why Chinese students choose internet purchasing and the elements that go into this decision. This study will employ qualitative methods to ascertain the extent to which Chinese college students use online shopping and the factors influencing their preference.
Keywords; online shopping, China, Internet, online platforms, questionnaires
Online retailers are competing for consumers’ attention, and many individuals now consider online shopping first before making a purchase. Publications on shopping online are numerous, and the vast majority examine buyers’ habits, actions, motivations, and obstacles. Due to the country’s rapidly developing e-platforms and expanding e-commerce, Chinese consumers now have access to the most innovative channels and new internet options. Internet purchasing is undoubtedly the way of the future for consumers everywhere. One of the leading business strategies is international online shopping. Consumers, especially young people, and students, play a crucial role in the growth of online purchasing. Therefore, businesses must study and consider the elements that influence the choice of young individuals and students to make purchases online. This paper investigates why Chinese students choose online shopping and what factors contribute to this preference. Using qualitative techniques, this research will determine the extent to which Chinese college students use Internet shopping and the reasons behind their preference.
2.0 Literature review
In the modern era of e-commerce, academics have taken a keen interest in studying consumers’ online purchasing habits. In the COVID-19 era, purchasing online has become integral to daily life. Researchers are particularly interested in e-commerce and online purchasing because of their enormous opportunities. For this study particularly, Chinese students and the younger generation, in general, prefer shopping online, and different factors aid their decision. China has advanced internet connection since 1987, aiding online shopping in the contemporary retail market. In some regions, such as Shanghai and Beijing, internet usage is above 60% (Diao, 2015). Among the top Internet utilization is online shopping, which has become popular whenever people think of buying something. We can not talk about online buying without looking at the retail industry in China. Retail buying in China is the most dominant sales pattern, according to BRIC (2011). In 2010, retail sales in China totaled about $2.1 trillion, roughly half what they were in the United States. The retail industry in China is thriving, as evidenced by the presence of more than 25 of the world’s major merchants there. The growing success of retail marketing is also aiding the preference for online shopping by Chinese students. Reports show that the retail business has a lot of room to grow in terms of Internet purchasing. According to Indvik (2013), online retail totaled $231 billion in 2013 and suggested a rise to more than $370 billion for the coming years in the U.S. market alone. Despite being attracted to online shopping due to its convenience, time savings, and low pricing, most consumers are wary of the safety of their financial information and the quality of the products they will receive.
In addition to being motivated by the above factors, Mastercard Worldwide (2008) and Clemens, Gan, and Zhang (2014) report that the three most popular product types purchased by Chinese internet buyers are: books, gadgets, and media (both audio and visual). Even though the percentage of the Chinese population that has access to the Internet is not as large, most of those consumers choose to make their purchases online. Credit card payments are popular, but almost as many people make electronic money transfers. Service quality and product diversity are also highly valued by Chinese consumers. However, these factors are rarely highlighted in studies in countries other than China. Finally, when shopping online, Chinese consumers favor Taobao over other sites. This is likely because of Taobao’s status as one of Asia-Pacific’slargest Network retail firms.
The previous studies on online shopping have categorized as reasons, behaviors, and effects of shopping online. For this study, behaviors of online shopping from previous studies will be crucial to establish why Chinese students prefer shopping online. The previous studies suggest different factors that determine the behavior of online shoppers. These include demographics which refers to age, income level, occupation, gender, and level of education. Forrester Research’s Online Retail Forecast, 2012–2017 in the U.S., found that 59.1% of online consumers are women and that 65.7% of online shoppers are between the ages of 25 and 54 (Nagra & Gopal, 2013). The average income of internet buyers is above $50,000 annually, and nearly 80% have at least some college degree. Buying behaviors can also be affected by security consciousness. Buyers are conscious about their personal and credit card information due to the increasing cyber insecurities. Some studies have shown that people who do not shop online cite their concern about providing personal information and credit card numbers as a primary inhibitor.
This research is conducted to establish why Chinese students prefer online shopping. The methodology section outlines the methods used for data collection, procedure, instruments for the data collection, processing, analysis, and detailed information about the participants for the research. To get the depth information on the primary aim, participants are engaged at a personal level by answering open-ended questions with questions structured to answer the “WHY,” and demographic questions such as gender and how convenient online shopping is for shoppers.
Participants used for this study were students from different states, colleges, and universities in China. To understand why students prefer online shopping more, the research needed to make a comparison with non-students from China. Therefore, four hundred students from different universities were picked randomly, and two hundred other online shoppers who were not students were used, making a total of six hundred participants.
3.2 Method of data collection
Paper and digital questionnaires were utilized to collect data on college students’ online buying habits. The purpose of the questions is to collect baseline demographic information from respondents and to conduct in-depth analyses of their online buying activity, motivations, impediments, and impact on participants’ shopping habits. The questions establish sexual orientation, educational pursuits, and majors. It also determines the drawbacks of online buying to ascertain drivers and deterrents. Lastly, the questions inquire about the online shopper’s habits and preferences regarding the kind of products and services purchased, as well as the websites, devices, and methods of payment most frequently employed. The structure and nature of the questionnaires are as indicated below.
- What is your gender?
- Male B. Female
- what are your majors?
- Others, specify
- Do you prefer online shopping or the store?
A． online B， In-store
- What are the main factors that prompt you to shift your online or offline shopping channels?
- Price discount
- Decreased satisfaction with original channel shopping
- Convenient and efficient shopping
- Recommended by family and friends
- Channel Marketing
- Among the factors that promote your transition from online consumption to physical store consumption, please choose based on your reasons for the same degree of transfer.
(Table has been counted)（Likert scale）
|Question Options||Absolutely agree (Number of people)||Agree
(Number of people)
(Number of people)
（(Number of people)
(Number of people)
|Physical store services and after-sales are more guaranteed||3||5||2||4||1|
|Personal experience of physical store shopping provides a sense of security||3||5||1||5||1|
|More guaranteed quality of offline products||4||6||2||2||1|
|Enjoy shopping with friends more than online||2||3||9||1||0|
|More options for physical store shopping products||1||3||2||4||5|
|People who can influence my decisions recommend physical stores||5||3||2||2||3|
|Physical stores are more proactive in listening to my opinions and providing suggestions||7||2||5||1||0|
|I prefer the lively shopping environment of physical stores||3||2||5||2||3|
|I have had a dissatisfied online shopping experience and no longer believe in online shopping||4||0||8||2||1|
- What would you do if you saw a product you really liked in the store but it exceeded your payment ability?
- How long does it take to search for consumer goods in physical stores, and when there are no results, will you choose to give up the offline search and switch to online purchase?
- Within three hours
- Within one day
- Within three days
- Within seven days
- Over a week
- What type of product d you buy online?
- Do you think online shopping will completely replace offline shopping in the future?
In order to reach a bigger audience and collect responses from a wider range of people, the survey was administered on paper and online. Paper surveys were distributed to Liaoning Institution (a public comprehensive institution) and China Medical University (a private comprehensive university). There were 90 paper questionnaires, with the remaining respondents asked to fill out online forms. Online surveys were given to the students that took part. The most widely used Chinese social media sites, WeChat and Moments, were used to disseminate the online surveys. The survey was converted into an online format and posted to the web via the online survey application tool; Sojump. To reach a wider audience, this poll was also shared in many WeChat groups comprised of college students. The survey was evenly distributed; out of the 600 participants, 200 were not students; of the 400 students, 100 were medical students, 150 were science students, 50 were engineering students, 50 were art students, and other faculties were distributed among the 50 remaining students. There were 350 female participants and 250 male participants.
3.5 Findings and Analysis
The survey findings indicated that students’ shopping behaviors and that of other participants, grouped as sex, and cost of living, were different. The two groups also bought different goods and services. The mostly online purchased commodities were clothes, books, and food. Other participants bought more gifts and booked hotels, tickets, and electronic products online than students.
It makes sense that college students would buy more clothes than average, as young people tend to be more concerned with their appearance. Unexpectedly, however, college students were found to have the highest food expenditures of any demographic. There are three possible explanations for this trend: first, students are typically more active than adults, necessitating a larger quantity of food to supply them with energy; second, foods available on the Internet also have some discounts, which may be the focus of university students; and third, buying food online is more convenient, as the majority of college pupils do not have access to kitchens to cook in. Female students are more likely to spend money on apparel, meals, and movie or concert tickets than male students are. Women report shopping more frequently than men for all three categories: clothing, food, movies, and concerts. Men are more likely to purchase electronics and toys than women. The results concerning apparel presents, toys, electronics, theater, and concert tickets are also predictable. The reasons for these findings are consistent with the stereotypes that women are more concerned with their appearance and therefore spend more money on clothing, that Chinese people have a general expectation that boys should buy gifts for girls but not the other way around, that men are more interested in technology by nature, and that women may be more receptive to the arts and therefore spend more money on going to the movies or a concert. Nonetheless, the discovery of the meal is unexpected. Women may be more concerned with dietary quality and diversity than males, which could explain why they are more likely to place online food orders. Additionally, Prioritizing the reasons why people shop online, convenience comes in first, followed by low prices of products, the ability to save time by not having to physically visit a store, and finally, the availability of otherwise difficult-to-find items. Students of both sexes perform equally well in school, but university students and the general public rate different reasons in terms of importance.
This research will determine the extent to which Chinese college students use Internet shopping and the reasons behind their preference. Notably, critical criteria like anonymity, ease of use, and reliability have been demonstrated to impact consumers’ final decisions the most. This research established a robust positive correlation between cost, ease of use, and transaction safety. Therefore, this research recommends some of the best measures for online store owners and aspiring online shop owners to enhance customer service. This study’s findings can help internet merchants better understand the needs and wants of their customers, particularly those of the millennial generation. Online merchants could better plan and execute their E-business strategy and gain a competitive edge if they had a firm grasp on the factors that most influence consumers’ shopping propensity. This research adds to the growing body of evidence recommending that online retailers prioritize using a marketing mix that emphasizes providing customers with a superior experience in exchange for a higher price tag.
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