New research has highlighted opportunities for Australian brands to sell into China, despite ongoing political tensions, with more than two-thirds (67%) of China’s cross-border online shoppers expecting to increase their online spending for western and Australian goods in the coming year.

The study by global ecommerce accelerator, Pattern polled Chinese consumers who shopped on cross-border marketplace, Tmall Global, over the past 12 months.

Representing steady demand for westerns goods, the research showed that Chinese shoppers still prefer Australian and western products over domestic ones, with 54% of Chinese shoppers who have purchased foreign products online over the past year stating they will continue to buy more cross-border goods in the year ahead.

“While ongoing media reports may suggest otherwise, Australian brands should have a positive outlook in regard to selling into China; based on the country’s sustained interest for Australian retailers,” Pattern Australia general manager, Merline McGregor said.

The majority of Chinese shoppers (85%) indicated that Tmall Global was their preferred cross-border buying channel, ahead of other online marketplaces, shopping agents, and foreign brands’ direct-to-customer websites.

When buying from Tmall Global, 69% of consumers prioritised products’ guaranteed authenticity, followed by better product quality (63%), better customer service (57%), and better prices than elsewhere (50%).

For Chinese shoppers, a primary motivation to buy from Australian or Western brands is product quality (60%), followed closely by a sense of uniqueness and a match of their style or values (both 59%), alongside value for money (57%).

“These results show that China’s cross-border shoppers have more considerations in mind than merely product price, when deciding to buy. Central to the reasons why Chinese shoppers search for Australian goods is their quality, followed by wanting products that are unique or that match their style. With these factors in mind, Australian brands need to think carefully about the range of products they make available for sale in Chinese markets,” McGregor said.

Australian brands need to build trust among Chinese consumers to convert sales, with 74% of shoppers saying they commonly search reviews for Western products on a brand’s official social media accounts, and 70% via a brand’s online storefront.

“Western brands are advised to build their official presence on marketplaces and social channels in China, including offering platforms for consumer reviews to gain shoppers’ trust and help convert shopper interest into a sale,” McGregor concluded.