With Alibaba said to be entering the U.S. market, there’s been a lot of speculation regarding what kind of player the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut will be. Regardless, even though Alibaba is China’s (and by some measures, the world’s) largest online commerce company, a survey of over 3,500 online buyers over three days by Bizarate Insights found that 63% are still not familiar with Alibaba.
Its three main sites Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com have hundreds of millions of users, and host millions of merchants and businesses. By numbers alone, Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce company, including Amazon.
After going public last month, specials on the company have aired on such American news outlets as CBS’s 60 Minutes, where correspondent Lara Logan spoke with Jack Ma, the Alibaba’s founder who took $50,000 in seed money to create the company currently valued at $231 billion. However, it appears that Chinese company is struggling to win brand recognition with American audiences.
Of those who are familiar with Alibaba, 65% are likely to interact with (browse or purchase from) a Chinese e-commerce company in general. But this grows significantly to 80% for those who have browsed or purchased from Alibaba already.
Only 11% of U.S. shoppers in the survey have either browsed or purchased through the site. About 26% have not visited the site, but have heard of it. Among those who have heard of or interacted with Alibaba, 35% say they would not even browse, much less purchase from a Chinese e-commerce company.
Among the concerns most expressed by survey respondents about Alibaba.com were:
- Long delivery windows
- Distrust /fear over security of personal and payment information
- Prefer to “Buy American”
“Alibaba could pave the way for more Chinese e-commerce companies to gain a customer base in the U.S.,” says Hayley Silver, Vice President, Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity, Inc. “But it will be an immediate challenge for the company to overcome its lack of name recognition among U.S. shoppers and to reassure them that their transactions and information will be safe and secure.”