(Yicai Global) Feb. 25 -- Growth in China's online sales of home appliances slipped below 20 percent for the first time last year, while high-end products accounted for a larger slice of the electrical goods sold that way, the latest official figures show.
The value of electrical goods bought through the internet rose 17.5 percent to CNY576.5 billion (USD86.4 billion) in 2018 from a year earlier, accounting for almost 36 percent of the entire home appliance market, according to a report published today by the industry ministry. It attributed the slowdown to a drop in sales volume.
E-commerce giant JD.Com took a 60 percent share of these online sales, followed by Alibaba Group's Tmall with 28 percent and Suning, a traditional home appliances retailer that has transformed into an e-commerce site, with 11 percent. Combined sales through other platforms accounted for just 1 percent.
Up-market products costing more than CNY3,000 (USD449) now account for just over 48 percent of the total, pointing to a trend of structural optimization and product upgrade.
The traditional big four appliances -- televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners – had growth of 19.4 percent to CNY208.5 billion. Sales of small gadgets surged almost 40 percent to CNY106 million, with products such as high-end hair dryers and robot vacuum cleaners the most popular goods. Items like mobiles and tablets rose 9.2 percent to CNY262 million.
The nation's e-commerce players have been exploring wide-ranging innovation across products and services. JD.Com unveiled customized electrical appliance solutions last September, using Big Data and artificial intelligence to recommend high-quality products that best match a customer's needs.
Also, a new retail sales model, which integrates online and physical stores, is also developing rapidly. Both Tmall and JD.Com have opened new retail smart stores and brand-experience outlets in various Chinese cities, which have stimulated the growth in consumption of electrical goods, the report added.