Vipshop and The Economist Intelligence Unit Release Report on the Online Buying Power of Female Consumers In Asia

General Science

Nearly 90 Percent of Asian Women Surveyed Buy Clothing and Accessories Online While 63 Percent of Respondents Browse Online Shops Daily

GUANGZHOU, China, Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Vipshop Holdings Limited (NYSE: VIPS,, the largest online discount retailer for brands both in China and globally, as well as the No.1 female-oriented vertical E-commerce retailer in China, has initiated and partnered with The Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist Group on a survey regarding the growing buying power of female consumers in Asia.

Vipshop and The Economist Intelligence Unit Release Report on the Online Buying Power of Female Consumers In Asia

Vipshop and The Economist Intelligence Unit Release Report on the Online Buying Power of Female Consumers In Asia

The report, titled "On the rise and online: Female consumers in Asia," was released today, and it surveyed 5,500 women across major urban areas in Greater China, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, as well as consumer analysts, major retailers and brand owners. The study found that women are driving the growth of online shopping in the region, with many preferring online to offline. Among survey respondents, 63 percent browse the Internet at least once a day for products and services, with nearly 30 percent doing so twice or more per day. Slightly fewer than 80 percent of women regionally buy groceries online, 83 percent for cosmetics and the figure rises to nearly 90 percent for clothing and accessories.

"Women are a unique and important driving force in the Asian market. And at Vipshop, over 80 percent of the accumulative 90 million members are females, who contribute to 90 percent of our sales. The partnership with the EIU allowed us the opportunity to learn more about consumer shopping habits and to further expand upon its leadership position in China’s online retail market," said Eric Shen, Chairman and CEO of Vipshop.

Perhaps most troubling for retailers focused on the brick-and-mortar business, nearly half – 49 percent, of women polled agreed or strongly agreed that they preferred the experience of shopping online to doing so in stores. The figure was as high as 69 percent in mainland China.

Additional key findings from the report:

  • Women in Asia’s major cities are increasingly empowered. Region-wide, 43 percent of the women responding to the survey were in managerial, executive or professional services jobs, while 83 percent contribute to household income.
  • Most women are in charge of budgeting decisions on cosmetics (81 percent), clothing and accessories (73 percent), groceries (67 percent) and maternity and children’s products (57 percent), and they are at least co-decision makers in most other product categories like electronics and travel services.
  • At least on the Internet, many Asian women do not seem to be living up to the stereotype of selfless, family-focused individuals. Over 62 percent of women are buying for themselves most of the time when shopping online; in mainland China that rate rises to 74 percent, and to 77 percent among 18-29 year olds.
  • Women have a variety of reasons to prefer online shopping. Most point to cost (62 percent) and time (60 percent) savings, but they also feel that online retailers can be relied upon to have the products they want to buy (59 percent), and they appreciate the range of choice online shopping offers (56 percent).
  • When choosing an online retailer, women say price (83 percent) is important or very important, but so are quality (83 percent), genuine products (82 percent) and convenience (77 percent).
  • Getting the messaging right will be tricky. While messages that address them as independent, intelligent consumers were found appealing to 56 percent of women, 54 percent said they found messages addressing them as wives, mothers or girlfriends to be attractive.
  • The future of online shopping looks mobile and impulsive. 58 percent of the youngest (18-29) demographic surveyed shop online with their smartphones at home, versus 38 percent of 40-49 year olds. While overall some 43 percent reported spending more money online than they do in physical shops, again the rates among those 18-29 were even higher (56 percent). Over half of women 18-29 year olds agreed that they were more likely to buy impulsively online.

Laurel West, editor of the report, said, "Women are controlling spending in a variety of categories where you would expect them to, such as clothing and accessories, cosmetics and groceries. But they also have an increasing influence in bigger ticket items such as electronics. Many brands are realizing this and making efforts to better understand what is important to female consumers."

According to the EIU report, Asian women regard "quality (83 percent), price (83 percent) and genuine products (82 percent) as the top three factors when they choose online retailers. Obviously, Vipshop’s business model of "online discount retailing for branded and genuine products" naturally matches with women’s demands and criteria for online shopping.

The EIU report also reveals that women have dominant online spending control in the buying of clothing and accessories, cosmetics, maternity and children’s products, and home goods, which coincidently proves the rightness of Vipshop’s she-economy strategies that it conducted one year ago. Since then, Vipshop has expanded its categories from apparel and accessories to cosmetics, maternity and children’s products, as well as home goods to leverage the increasing power of the she-economy.

Fully understanding women’s comprehensive roles and shopping demands both as independent career women and good wives/mothers/daughters, Vipshop provides the goods of 12,000 brands for women and their families. And in September of this year, Vipshop launched its "Global Sales" business to enrich the online shopping offerings to women.

Tony Feng, Vice President of Vipshop, said at the survey launch press conference, "At Vipshop, we are continually pushing ourselves to deliver the best products and services in the best format, and this study is born from these efforts aimed at the rapidly growing women’s market. It showcases our determination to go further in focusing our resources on better understanding and creating bigger innovations and deploying them at scale in areas where we want to win."

To view the full report, please visit or

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