In 2016, the online book market of China realized a turnover of 5 billion US dollars, surpassing the offline market for the first time.
The mainstream online book sales platforms such as JD.com, DangDang.com, Tmall.com, and Amazon all achieved some sort of growth in market size in 2016. User-wise, all the major e-commerce merchants saw an increase in their online book buyers in 2016, and especially a surge in e-book buyers. Channel-wise, many publishers and well-known bookstores tried to conduct online sales. Several major e-commerce merchants gradually shifted their focus onto the mobile end, and achieved substantial growth in the mobile-end sales. Generally, in 2016, the online book sales of China have entered a new stage in 2016, with the online book ecosystem gradually established.
DangDang Books: the accumulated number of book customers exceeded 200 million
In 2016, DangDang Books had nearly 2 billion US dollars of book sales and 1.1 million varieties for sale. Its wireless end accounted for over 70% of its sales. In 2016, the DangDang 100-million-yuan Club had 28 suppliers and 4967 book varieties that sold more than 10,000 copies a year. The Kite Runner topped the 2016 bestseller list with a sales volume of nearly a million copies, and was followed by Miracles of the Namiya General Store and The Three of Us (new edition). By 2016, DangDang Books already had more than 200 million customers. Throughout 2016, DangDang had more than 30 million active book customers, who made 3.5 purchases per capita. Customers' contribution increased by 10% over the previous year.
E-book users showed an explosive growth. The e-book user population in 2016 increased by 55% over the previous year and exceeded 40 million. 64% of the readers chose to read e-books, and 35% of the readers read e-books for more than 1 hour every day.
The 90s generation was the main consumers of digital reading. Young people aged under 30 accounted for 67%, and females accounted for 64% of the population.
Users with bachelor's degree accounted for 70%, and users with an income of 654 US dollars accounted for 45%. E-book users were extensively distributed and showed a high degree of penetration. The first-, second-, and third-tier cities respectively took up 22.4%, 34%, 28.5%, and 42.4%.
The number of fragmented readers grew rapidly, and their logins to the app increased from 4 times to 8 times in an average day, and their time spent on reading increased from 16 minutes to nearly 1 hour.
In terms of reading periods, from Monday to Friday, the number of online users increased rapidly after 6:00, and it peaked around 11:00, and again around 14:00 and 21:00. At weekends, the number of online users peaked around 22:00.
In terms of reading preferences, e-book readers prefer fictions, social sciences, economic management and inspirational books, whereas paper book readers prefer literature and art, primary and secondary school learning aids, and children's books.
In 2016, the number of DangDang e-books and online original book varieties has exceeded 400,000, up by 60% over that of 2015. Their downloads reached 100 million, up by 142% over that of 2015. The sales revenue of e-books increased by 123% over the previous year.
JD Books: The number of e-book users in 2016 increased by more than 200% over the previous year. In 2016, the book sales revenue of JD.com increased by 60% over the previous year. In terms of the number of orders, sales volume, sales revenue, and number of users, the mobile end surpassed the PC end comprehensively, and its share increased by 21 percentage points or so over that of 2015.
Gender difference leads to different interests. Among those who bought books and videos, male users took up a larger proportion than female users. Among those who bought science & technology books, male users took up 73.8% whereas female users took up 26.2%. Among those who bought economic management and inspirational books and social sciences books, male users were also dominant, accounting for about 65.5%. Among those who bought children's books, male users took up a lower-than-average proportion that was 52.6%.
Age difference leads to different category preferences. Users aged 26-35 were the main population that bought books and videos, accounting for more than 50% of the total. "Post-70s" users were more inclined to buy culture and education books, children's books, and art of living books. "Post-80s" users were more inclined to buy culture and education books, children's books, and literature books. "Post-90s" users were more inclined to buy culture and education books, literature books, and economic management and inspirational books. "Post-00s" users were more inclined to buy culture and education books, literature books, and art of living books.
The number of e-book users grew substantially. The number of e-book users in 2016 increased by more than 200% over the previous year. The growth rate exceeded that of paper book users. This was largely related to the fact that the base number of paid e-book users in China was relatively small. While the number of users grew, the total time to read e-books increased by 379% in 2016, and the total number of book downloads increased by 85%.
Different cities show different reading characteristics. In 2016, Guangdong, Beijing, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shanghai, Shandong, Hebei, Zhejiang, Hubei, and Shaanxi had the most users who bought books and videos.
The five places with the largest growth in consumer quantity were Guizhou, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Shaanxi.Beijing, Shanghai, Tibet, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu were among the top five places with the highest annual per-capita expenditure. The per-capita expenditure of Beijing people was 46 US dollars, while that of Shanghai people was 42 US dollars.
The top three places with the highest share of mobile end sales were Shaanxi, Liaoning, and Shanxi. Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou had the lowest share of mobile end sales.
The mobile end users were used to place orders after 20:00, which accounted for 28% of the total. The next busiest period occurred between 13:00 and 17:00, followed by the periods of 9:00-11:30 and 17:00-20:00. The PC end users were used to place orders between 13:00 and 17:00, which accounted for 27% of the total. The next busiest period occurred after 20:00.
The peak period of placing orders at the mobile end was also the period with the most e-book readers, which occurred after 20:00 accounting for 28.4% of the total. The next busiest period occurred between 13:00 and 17:00, accounting for 23.8% of the total. The period between 11:30 and 13:00 had the lowest share at 4.3%.
Children's books were the most popular book category among readers in 2016.They were followed by culture and education books, literature books, art of living books, social sciences books, economic management and inspirational books, science & technology books, and original foreign books.
In 2016, the number of children's book users had the largest year-on-year growth by nearly 70%, and was only behind the number of culture and education book users.
The original foreign books had the fastest growth in sales, which were up by more than 100%. The second place went to children's books, whose sales increased by more than 70%. The third through the fifth places respectively went to social sciences books, culture and education books, and literature books.
In 2016, the proportion of each category of new books did not vary, and the categories from the highest to lowest proportions were: culture and education, social sciences, children's, science & technology, art of living and family education, literature, economic management and inspiration.
The proportion of the sales volume of literature books showed an increasing trend from the first-tier cities to the sixth-tier cities. In first-tier cities, literature books accounted for 14.6% of the total sales volume; in second-tier cities, this proportion increased to 15.6%, in second-tier cities 16.6%, and in fifth-tier cities 18.9%. However, the economic management and inspirational books and social sciences books showed an opposite trend. Their proportions of sales volume showed a basically decreasing trend from the first-tier cities to the sixth-tier cities. For example, the economic management and inspirational books accounted for 12.6% of the total sales volume in first-tier cities, 11.1% in second-tier cities, 10.5% in third-tier cities, and 9.5% in fifth-tier cities.
Tmall Books: A world record was made on online book sales on November 11
In 2016, the market size of Tmall Books was 1.7 billion US dollars, up by 60% over that of 2015. The total number of books sold throughout the year exceeded 400 million copies (sets), with an average consumer buying 5.75 copies. There were 85 million book products online on average, and more than 3000 online merchants.
Tmall Books had 5 sales peaks in 2016, which were: March (4 weeks), July (2 weeks), and September (3 weeks). The sales peaks in these three months were all related to students returning to school and having vacations. The November and December sales peaks each lasted 1 week, and were respectively driven by the two big promotions of Tmall: "Double-11" Festival and "Double-12" Festival. During the "Double-11" Festival, the daily sales revenue of Tmall Books exceeded 72 million US dollars, breaking the world record of book sales on a single day. In 30 minutes after the promotion started, the book sales revenue exceeded 15 million, and the daily book sales approximated 20 million copies (sets).
In 2016, the bestselling categories on Tmall Books were examination and learning aids, children's and childcare, literature and fiction, science & technology, economic management, and cartoon art. The category of examination textbooks and learning aids took up 35%, and children's and childcare took up 19%. Science & technology, original foreign, and lifestyle books had very rapid growth.
68% of the consumers were old users, and 43% of the consumers bought books more than once.Females accounted for 62% of the consumers.
The book buyers were mostly young people. Those aged between 18 and 29 accounted for more than 45% of the total. The young group took up nearly half of the total.'Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces clearly bought a larger share of books on Tmall than the other provinces. They were the top three. Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou were among the top three cities that bought the most books on Tmall. Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, and Nanjing also bought more books than the other cities.
Bestseller list of online book market in 2016
Top 10 bestselling e-books of DangDang in 2016
Ode to Joy
Harvard Temperament Class
The Complete Works of the Three Body Problem
1368 Words Is Enough
Miracles of the Namiya General Store
Let Me Tell You a Joke, Promise You Won't Cry
Those Stories of MING Dynasty
You'll Appreciate Your Current Hard Work in the Future
Top 10 annual highest-rated books of JD Books
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Miracles of the Namiya General Store
World Map: Travel with Dad (encyclopedic edition)
No More Than Skins
The Kite Runner
Le Voleur D'ombres
Ordinary World (all three volumes)
Modern Chinese Dictionary (the 6th edition)
Journey Under the Midnight Sun
Top 10 outstanding items on Tmall Books in 2016
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The Kite Runner
Miracles of the Namiya General Store
I Belonged to You
The Three of Us
Genius on the Left, Maniacs on the Right
College English Test Band 6 Past Exam Papers + Forecast
By Long Yingtai
By Gao Ming
By Bai Yansong
By Yang Jiang
By Da Bing
By Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee
By Liu Tong
By Publicity and Education Bureau of the Central Propaganda Department
By Helence Hanff
By Da Bing