December 14, 2015, 8:00 PM

Chinese consumers spend $10 billion on health on Alibaba sites in 2014

Those purchases include nursing service sales, which grew 205%, and health insurance sales, which increased 432%.

Lead Photo

Chinese consumers are going online to buy health products and services.

Chinese consumers spent 65.02 billion yuan ($10.10 billion) in buying medicines, health care products and services on Alibaba’s Chinese retail sites in 2014, up 62.5% from a year earlier, according to a report released last week by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s dominant e-commerce company. The report also says Chinese online consumers are moving from seeking cures for diseases to investing in illness prevention.

In the report, Alibaba attributes the increase in online healthcare spending to personal income growth, the aging of China’s population, urbanization and environmental problems.

More Chinese consumers shopped online for health last year. Online buyers of health-related products and services on Alibaba’s sites increased 63.5% to 111 million in 2014 from 68 million a year earlier. And many online health care shoppers spend heavily. 68.9% of consumers who bought health products or services spent more than 5000 yuan ($777) on Alibaba’s sites in a year, the report says.

On Nov. 11, the annual online shopping extravaganza in China called Singles’ Day, sales of health products on Alibaba’s sites jumped 100% year over year. That included sales of wearable products, such as fitness trackers, increasing nearly fivefold, Alibaba says. In addition, sales of nursing care services grew 205% on Singles’ Day, while sales of health insurance increased 432% on Alibaba’s sites, including the huge Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. Alibaba also reports a dental clinic sold vouchers for more than 500 dental implants on Singles’ Day.   

Consumers are also increasingly going online to buy health care services, such as gene tests and cancer screening. In 2014, Alibaba’s sales of health examination services grew 31.3% year over year.

The report says a baby delivery and after-birth nursing service that cost 80,220 yuan ($12,463) was the most expensive service consumers could buy in Tmall’s Healthcare category during the 2015 Singles’ Day sale. The service was provided by Beijing United Family Hospital.

For more information about Chinese e-commerce, please click here for the Internet Retailer 2015 China 500.
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