WELLINGTON, Feb. 3 -- Internet retailers might want to give a bit of extra attention to China's educated, middle-class women because they're the future of on-line shopping in the world' s biggest market, according to a New Zealand study.
The Lincoln University survey of Chinese Internet consumers found that well-educated employees appeared more inclined to shop online than any other group, possibly indicating their computer literacy and ready access to Internet technology.
The online shopping behavior of friends and family also appeared to be a major influence on China's e-shoppers, especially among women.
The research found that Chinese female consumers were more likely to shop on-line than their male counterparts a trend that was becoming increasingly pronounced, researchers said in a statement from the university Monday.
With China's population spending about 1 billion hours on the Internet each day, it was important to understand the decision- making process and behaviour of on-line shoppers, senior lecturer in marketing Michael Clemes said in the statement.
"What's particularly interesting about China, however, is not only how little is known about e-shopping behaviours, but how few Chinese consumers relative to the country's population actually use the Internet for their purchases," Clemes said.
"The findings of the research are every bit as important to New Zealand businesses looking to attract Chinese consumers as it is to Chinese businesses themselves."
The researchers suggested that marketers consider providing computer training courses to prospective customers or increasing the provision of public computers, and to consider providing on- line forums and chat rooms for female consumers to share their experiences.
They also found that high-income Chinese consumers were much less inclined to shop online, possibly because they preferred to physically examine the more upmarket products they were buying and take advantage of support services offered in a store.