The warehouse of an e-commerce company in Hangzhou. (File photo/Xinhua)
Alipay, China's leading online payment services provider by both user numbers and total transaction volume, published a report on Jan. 15 on individuals' spending in 2012, which has been seen as a useful tool for measuring the development of China's online economic activity and consumer behavior, the official China Youth Daily reports, even breaking down the figures by star sign.
Men who were born under the astrological sign of Scorpio and women who were born under Aquarius were the biggest spenders, with Scorpio men spending 14,206 yuan (US$2,284) per capita per year and Aquarius women spending 15,095 yuan (US$2,427) each, according to the data released by Alipay.
These groups were also most likely to make online payments with credit cards, with each paying an average of 7,100 yuan (US$1,141) and 8,750 yuan (US$1,407) in credit card bills a year, respectively.
The newspaper's reporter also found his own credit card bill through the Alipay databank, and found that he had spent a total of 10,017 yuan (US$1,610), more than 80% percent of people in Beijing had spent. He shopped online every month and most of the shopping was done around 9 pm. He mainly bought snacks, clothes, home appliances and electronic products.
The reporter also found an internet user who had made more than 180 purchases within three months.
To the surprise of many, an internet user in Wuxi in Jiangsu province who had spent 9.41 million yuan (US$1.51 million) was ranked only 26th on a list of the biggest online spenders in the city.
The report said that online shopping addiction has become a new form of mental disorder among the modern generation.
It is undeniable that online shopping has helped stimulate domestic consumption and boost the local economy as China's exports have declined due to the global financial crisis and Europe's debt woes.
Statistics showed that as of 2011, the number of China's e-commerce enterprises had surpassed 150,000. The revenue generated by the country's e-commerce service providers reached 120 billion yuan (US$19.3 billion) in 2011 and is expected to break the 1 trillion yuan (US$160 billion) mark by 2015, making China the largest e-commerce services market.
The report said that while online shopping has continued to drive domestic consumption, there have been problems affecting the development of the industry. First, it has posed a threat to bricks-and-mortar stores and has caused demand for workers to decline. In addition, it is difficult for online shopping to boost growth in related industries.
Meanwhile, since the industry attaches less importance to technological innovation and research and development, and usually ignores the protection of intellectual property rights, this promotes the sale of counterfeit goods or products copied from foreign brands through low pricing measures.