"Smog bill", "father-baby time", "money flowing to counties" and "mobile shopping" are the key words for 2013, Taobao.com, China's most popular website for online shopping, announced on Thursday.
Figures released by Taobao.com show that in 2013 Chinese consumers paid a total of 870 million yuan (about 143.3 million U.S. dollars) and completed 4.5 million transactions online to buy products including masks, air purifiers, and indoor treadmills to prevent, remove, or avoid smog. The number of people buying masks rose by 81 percent compared with last year, and those buying air purifiers rose by 31 percent.
Few would have predicted that the number of masks bought by online shoppers from east China's Jiangsu Province would exceed that of Beijing. But this did indeed happen in 2013 as smog cloaked east China's Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province and Shanghai Municipality.
Father-baby time: male customers purchase products for mums and kids
In recent years, the infant and child economy has grown very hot. But this year it is characterized by the rise of fathers shopping online.
In 2013 30 million male consumers bought products for mothers and babies at Taobao.com, accounting for 44 percent of the total. The transaction value reached 18.1 billion yuan (around 3 billion US. dollars). This indicates that fathers are becoming more involved in family life.
Yellow rubber duck
The yellow rubber duck became very popular across China in 2013. Some 100,000 consumers bought commodities from Taobao.com related to the yellow Rubber Duck, such as toys, schoolbags, slippers and car decorations. Guangdong people ranked first, spending about 1.2 million yuan (around 200,000 U.S. dollars).
Money flowing to counties
"Want a better life, go shopping on Taobao.com" is the slogan posted on the wall of a street in Suixian County, east China's Zhejiang Province.
This indicates that economic transformation has begun in the rural economy and money is flowing into counties. In Suixian County, there are more than 1,200 Taobao stores, and the sales volume for 2012 amounted to 100 million yuan (about 16.5 million U.S. dollars).
Research published by AliResearch Center shows there were 14 large "Taobao Villages" in Suixian County in August, due to increase to 17 in November.
At the same time, purchasing power is also surging. Last year, more than 30 million people in China's counties shopped online and spent up to 179 billion yuan (about 29.5 billion U.S. dollars), far more than the online spending of the people in first or second tier cities.
Shopping by mobile phone
Booking a room with a cell phone, ordering with a mobile phone when eating out, and logging in as a Taobao client on your mobile phone to download coupons when shopping - mobile phones have become the indispensable personal service center in daily life.
Figures show there are currently 400 million users shopping on Taobao via their cell phones. On one single day - November 11 this year - 127 million users swarmed to Taobao via mobile phones and the transaction value reached 5.35 billion yuan (900 million U.S. dollars), more than 5 times greater than the same day in 2012.