Myles Dawson is the UK country manager at global payments platform Adyen.
China’s Lunar New Year means many things to the global Chinese population, including participating in traditions to maximise their chances for a prosperous year ahead. So,in this new year of the Dog, retailers around the world should ensure they are preparing their businesses to be capable of capitalising on the spending power of the Chinese shopper. This market should not be underestimated by any organisation, even if they don’t have a huge global operation.
Chinese consumers are truly global shoppers, leading the world on cross-border purchases, and a recent report by international management consulting firm McKinsey found that Chinese consumers are responsible for up to half of all luxury brand sales worldwide. China’s other national holidays, including Golden Week in October, mark a time where millions of Chinese residents travel abroad to make the most of the global retail opportunities available.In 2017 alone, Chinese consumers shopping for products overseas spent an estimated average of $473.26 each, representing 4.2% of total retail e-commerce market last year. Analysts estimate that UK retailers stand to make upwards of $337 million from Chinese consumers in the UK.By 2022, leading research company Forrester predicts that cross-border e-commerce could increase by 20%, reaching $630 billion, with China leading the boom.
Specifically for British and American companies, research found that two-thirds of Chinese millennials preferred Western to local Asian brands. In addition, the Royal Mail recently released research finding 55% of China’s online shoppers buy UK goods and spend on average £104 a month on British products.
It is clear that retailers need to capitalise on the opportunity Chinese consumers present and take time to understand preferred local payment methods and adapt their approach accordingly. Delivering a seamless and familiar payments experience is a crucial first step for those businesses wanting to avoid being overlooked. With many Chinese consumers taking the holiday season as an opportunity to purchase gifts for loved ones both back home and abroad, being able to offer a diverse range of payment options that Chinese shoppers are used to is vital to being able to accommodate this important customer.
Smartphones are crucial to Chinese shoppers, research shows 79% of China’s shoppers make purchases via their smartphone, compared to 28% of UK shoppers. This means that enabling mobile shoppers to pay using familiar regional methods will provide an experience that will not only build on retailer’s profits, but keep these shoppers spending in-store or online.
Payment habits differ significantly across the globe. Whether cash is still king, or local payment methods are more popular, credit card penetration is generally much lower in most markets when compared to the UK and the US. So, China-specific payment method need special attention.WeChatPay, AliPay and China Union Pay are the three largest methods used by Chinese consumers. Just because a business doesn’t have a presence in China, it is important not to overlook the large market that the region offers. Offering different payment methods isn’t just something for the online shopper. By offering these local payment methods in-store, this ensures no customer is unable to pay through their preferred method. Allowing Chinese shoppers to access their preferred local payment methods helps to deliver the payment experiences Chinese customers are used to and increases the opportunity of closing a sale.
Another method to consider is Alibaba’s Alipay, which is the world’s largest third-party mobile and online payment platform, used by more than 520 million people and supporting 27 currencies.SimilarlyWeChat Pay is one of the most popular mobile payment apps in China. WeChat has 1.3 billion users, 400 million of whom use the app for either paying friends (through peer-to-peer payments) or purchasing a product.
Following November’s record-breaking Singles Day sales, and with Chinese New Year, it’s more important than ever for retailers to find ways to allow Chinese consumers to make purchases with their payment method of choice. Chinese tourists are clearly an important audience for retailers to consider. To provide Chinese customers travelling abroad with the payment experience they are used to at home will provide a significant benefit for businesses – it is a sure-fire way to secure repeat business and boost your customer experience.We know Europe and America are popular destinations for Chinese tourists, so it’s vital that retailers cater to the needs of this incredibly important and large customer base as they travel abroad to make this newYear of the Dog the most prosperous it can be.
Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite
By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño
MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.
Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.
That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.
“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.
Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.
A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.
Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.
“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.
Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.
Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.
The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.
(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)
Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains
By Anuradha Nagaraj
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.
Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.
Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.
Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.
“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.
“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”
The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.
Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.
Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office
BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.
In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.
“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)
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