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Taiwan eCommerce Startup Market – 7 factors boosting the online shopping market!

Taiwan FMCG - fast moving consumer good ecommerce

Taiwan ecommerce startup market has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years, with a market size of US$37.6 billion in 2016, and a 5-year average growth rate of 10-20%.  It is predicted that Taiwan’s online retail platforms will eventually overtake sales in physical retail stores, accounting for more than half of the multi-billion dollar retail sector. Taiwan’s e-commerce penetration rate is one of the highest in the world, which naturally entails a large market of sophisticated consumers who are familiar with global trends.

Top 10 Online Shopping Categories in Taiwan ecommerce startup market

Nielsen reported that Taiwanese shoppers favour a wide variety of product categories when shopping online. Clothes and accessories are the most popular product category (45%), with tours and hotel reservations (42%) and airline reservations (38%) following close behind

  1. Clothes / Accessories / Shoes: 45%
  2. Tours / Hotel Reservations  42%
  3. Airline Reservations 38%
  4. Event Tickets (Movies, Shows, etc.) 36%
  5. FMCG: 32%
Generally, Taiwan ecommerce startup market currently includes a wide range of products bought and sold online. These include, in no particular order:
  • Apparel and Accessories
  • Travel Packages, Hotels, and Flights
  • Shoes, Bags and Collectibles
  • Groceries
  • Computers and Accessories
  • Household Products
  • Beauty and Skin Care
  • Foods
  • Mother and Baby
  • Computer/Videogames

Online Payment

Online shoppers in Taiwan have several options of payment for their e-Commerce purchases (not ranked in any particular order):
  • Online credit card use
  • Payment at convenience stores
  • Payment on delivery
  • Online banking payments
  • Placing credit card orders by fax
  • Bank transfer / Wire transfer
  • Mobile payments
The Marketing Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC), a Taiwan-based market research firm, reported that in 2016,
  1. 75.7% of consumers used credit card as their preferred method of online payment.
  2. This was followed by convenience store pickup at 66.4%, a more than 20% increase since 2014.
  3. Another popular option is ATM bank transfers.

Most ecommerce sites support credit cards, credit card installment payments, cash on delivery, bank transfer, and ibon, a payment service in local 7-Eleven stores. (Customers obtain a transaction number after completing an online order. They use that number to print a payment slip via an ibon kiosk, and then pay at the counter at 7-Eleven stores.) Convenience store payments are popular in Taiwan. There are more than 5,000 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan and more than 10,000 convenience stores overall.

Mobile e-commerce

Taiwan has the highest smartphone user penetration of any country tracked in 2016.
A 2016 Nielson report noted that 31% of Taiwanese respondents claimed they used their mobile device to purchase a good, while 31% also made a purchase of a service within the past half year.

Digital Marketing – Social Media

Social media, primarily Facebook and the messaging app Line, is used as the primary online marketing outlet in Taiwan ecommerce market. In 2016, MIC reported that the top five channels most often used to purchase online consumer goods are portal sites like Yahoo (44.1%), Facebook (39.9%), TV commercials (38.2%), promotions from internet celebrities (21.2%), and the messaging app Line (17.4%).

Based on social media use in countries with national populations of 50,000 or more people, Taiwan in 2016 had the highest social media penetration globally at 77%.  Taiwan also leads in Facebook and Twitter penetration with a rate of 67%.

Social media has become extremely important to marketing products sold online in Taiwan. Facebook is the preferred method of digital marketing, with 63.4% of online vendors choosing to use it as a major marketing tool.

Loyalty Points Reward Customers

Ecommerce sites in Taiwan often use loyalty points to reward shoppers, who can redeem the points for gifts or for payment of any product.

For example, customers on Rakuten Ichiba Taiwan that pay with the Rakuten credit card get two percent back in Rakuten loyalty points, which can then be redeemed for any purchase.

Cross Border Ecommerce Popular

Taiwan’s geographical proximity to China and Japan has led to increased cross border ecommerce, where Taiwanese shoppers buy from Chinese and Japanese sites, and vice versa. Taiwanese products are considered high quality in Japan and China.

As an example, Yahoo Hong Kong recently announced the launch of its Yahoo Hong Kong-Taiwan cross-border ecommerce platform.

Top 8 online shopping ecommerce  sites

These top players warm up Taiwan ecommerce market with lots of good products, promotion, loyalty reward and creative marketing

  1. Ruten
  2. PCHome
  3. Yahoo Shopping Taiwan!
  4. Shopee
  6. Momoshop
  7. Taobao
For a full and detail list please read more here: Top 10 online shopping ecommerce sites in Taiwan
Information sources

See also: Top 5 Taiwan online fashion sites