China eCommerce Shoppers Receive Orders in 3 days…and Mostly for Free

It was only a dream that few years ago, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma once said someday Chinese consumers will receive online orders within 24 hours. As time went by, his dream seems closer to reality as an explosion in eCommerce quickly transforms China’s shipping sector.

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Average eCommerce deliver days in China: 2.6 days

According to the “China Smart Logistics Report” , on average Chinese eCommerce shoppers received their parcels in 2.6 days in 2015, 14% faster than they did a year ago.The average waiting days in densely populated areas like China’s eastern coastal cities is even shorter: only less than two days. Consumers in Shanghai are no doubt the most lucky ones: they will receive their online orders most quickly, in only 1.7 days.

“China delivered 20.6 billion parcels in 2015. We estimates more than 80% of them come from e-commerce orders, and the volume of eCommerce parcels grew 40% in the last year.” Wang Wen, Cainiao’s chief technology officer, told a press conference.

Another interesting data the report found is that 87.3% of parcels were “free shipping”. 89.4% of parcels delivered to China’s central region–shipped free, as consumers in that area often exceed the threshold to avoid shipping costs, the report says.

New trends in China eCommerce shipping

Shipping for cross border eCommerce used to be a problem, but now it is also improved. Chinese consumers’ wait time for packages shipped from overseas fell by one-third in 2015 compared with 2014.

Meanwhile, shipments to China’s villages surged in 2015. Parcels delivered to villages accounted for 25% of the shipping volume in China, while the number of parcels increased more than 50% in such under-developed areas as the western and southern provinces, the report said.

Chinese logistics companies also have deployed new technology to improve eCommerce shipping operations. Cainiao, a data-sharing network that helps logistics companies process 70% of parcels shipped in China, says it has started to use robots in some warehouses to sort products.

Also, Cainiao this week announced that consumers on Alibaba’s Taobao.com, China’s largest online shopping portal, can cancel their orders when the products are in transit. Consumers who cancel their orders before they are delivered will receive their refund more quickly, the company says. In some test cases, shoppers received refunds in 19 hours instead of 73 hours, Cainiao says.

In China, the shipping cost for a typical domestic parcel that arrives in 2.6 days is about 15 yuan (US$2.30).

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