Our Digital IQ Index: Personal Care China report revealed that even though online sales make up a high percentage of personal care sales in China compared to other countries, few brands sell directly online. E-commerce represented 7.7% of Personal Care sales in China in 2012 compared to 2.2% in the U.S., but Procter & Gamble and local toothpaste brand Yunnan Baiyao are the only brands that sell on their e-commerce site without linking to a third party.
In place of direct sales, third party e-tailers are the norm and carry a wide range. Brands leverage their distribution and cost advantages of shipping larger baskets. Just 3% of personal care brands cannot be purchased on Tmall and Jingdong. All are available on Yihodian, and less than 20% are not available on Amazon.cn Dangdang, and Suning.
But brands lag in promoting their e-tailer presence as well; many do not link to e-commerce on their brand or Sina Weibo pages. Although P&G has its own e-store, only four of its brands link to it. Yunnan Baiyao’s brand site does not link to its Tmall shop.
The graph below shows Tmall’s dominance in e-commerce. It looks as if Personal Care brands have decided to let T-mall take over distribution and promotion rather that try to redirect some of its business to their sites.