How Shipping Delays Are Impacting Orders From China-Based E-Commerce Sites

Online shopping has become incredibly popular in recent years, with more and more people turning to e-commerce sites to purchase everything from clothing and electronics to furniture and groceries. 

While there are many benefits to shopping online, one downside that consumers sometimes encounter is shipping delays, especially when ordering from China-based e-commerce sites.

Why Are Shipments From China Delayed?

There are a few key reasons why shipments coming from China to other countries like the US and UK may experience delays:


The distance between China and other countries means packages have to travel a very long way. This journey can take weeks by standard shipping methods like ocean freight. Air shipping is faster but more expensive.

Customs Procedures

All international packages must pass through customs which can cause bottlenecks. Different countries have varying import rules and regulations which can slow things down.

Supply Chain Issues

With a huge volume of e-commerce orders coming out of China, logistics and supply chain operations can easily get overwhelmed. Lack of coordination or infrastructure problems can create backlogs.

Tracking Limitations

China’s tracking systems and protocols are less advanced than other countries. It’s harder to pinpoint the exact locations of shipments, making delays more likely.

Quality Control Issues

Chinese e-commerce sites sometimes have issues with fake or low-quality goods slipping through quality control checks. When this happens, it can cause customs seizures and shipment delays.

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What Is The Biggest E-Commerce Site In China?

The biggest e-commerce site in China is Alibaba, an undisputed leader in the industry. Alibaba operates two main sites. If you’re looking for ways to unblock websites in China, it’s essential to consider the country’s internet restrictions and explore suitable solutions.

The undisputed leader in China’s massive e-commerce industry is Alibaba. Alibaba operates two main sites:

Taobao – C2C Platform

Similar to eBay, Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace with over 500 million active users. It allows individuals and small businesses to sell directly to customers. Popular for bargain hunting.

Tmall – B2C Platform

The more premium Tmall site operates as a business-to-consumer platform, with major brands like Nike and Apple running flagship stores. 

It has over 500 million monthly active users.

Together, Taobao and Tmall account for over 80% of China’s e-commerce market share. Other players like and Pinduoduo trail behind Alibaba.

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How Many E-Commerce Sites Are In China?

China had over 2 million e-commerce companies as of 2022, though many are small to medium-sized operations. The vast majority of sales volume is concentrated among just a handful of dominant sites:

  • Alibaba – approx. 76% market share
  • – approx. 15% market share
  • Pinduoduo – approx. 5% market share
  • Vipshop – approx. 1% market share
  • Suning – approx. 1% market share

The remainder is divided up between smaller niche players, with none exceeding a 1% share. Despite having over 2 million sites, China’s e-commerce industry is heavily consolidated at the top.

Which Company Dominates The Internet E-Commerce In China?

Without question, Alibaba and its Taobao and Tmall platforms are the dominant force in China’s online retail space. Some key facts about Alibaba’s leading position:

  • Handles over 80% of Chinese e-commerce by transaction volume
  • Processes over 1 billion delivery orders per day
  • Sees over 900 million monthly active users across platforms
  • Accounts for 10% of all Chinese retail sales, online and offline
  • Operates the world’s largest mobile payment platform, Alipay

Due to its first-mover advantage and aggressive expansion, Alibaba has attained an enormous network effect and scale that has cemented its standing as the number one internet e-commerce company in China.

What Is The Cheapest E-Commerce Site In China?

For bargain basement prices, most consumers turn to Taobao. As Alibaba’s C2C platform, Taobao allows anyone to set up a storefront and sell products directly to customers. Here are some key facts:

  • Over 80% of stores offer free shipping to customers
  • The platform is designed for discounts, coupons, and bargaining
  • The average order value is around $15 USD per transaction
  • Popular for cheap Chinese factory goods like clothing and electronics
  • Counterfeit goods are common though Taobao tries to combat this

The combination of individual sellers competing on low prices plus free shipping options makes Taobao the go-to in China for rock bottom costs on a wide array of products.

Is China The World’s Largest E-Commerce Market Today?

Absolutely. When looking at the total value of online retail sales, China is the world’s largest by a wide margin:

  • Over 50% of global e-commerce occurs in China
  • 2021 online sales totaled $1.5 trillion, up 12% from 2020
  • Expected to hit $2.8 trillion in sales by 2025
  • 186 million Chinese digital buyers as of 2022
  • Smartphone adoption fueling mobile commerce growth

The US comes in second with just under $900 billion in 2021 online retail sales. China’s enormous population, explosive mobile uptake, and thriving tech ecosystem have created a booming e-commerce landscape unmatched anywhere else.

How Big Is The E-Commerce Market In China In 2023?

In 2023, China’s e-commerce market size is projected to exceed $2 trillion in total sales. Driving this growth:

  • 30% of all Chinese retail spending is forecast to occur online
  • Over 750 million digital buyers expected by 2023
  • Growing middle class with higher disposable incomes
  • Rural villages increasingly connected to e-commerce
  • Live streaming and social commerce seeing rapid uptake
  • Logistics infrastructure improving delivery efficiency

Despite economic headwinds, analysts predict China will likely maintain double-digit growth in the coming years as more commerce shifts to digital platforms and channels.

How Long Do Shipments From China Normally Take?

Most standard shipments from China take 2-3 weeks to reach destinations in the US and 1-2 weeks to Europe. Expedited shipping can reduce this to under 1 week.

What Causes The Most Delays From China?

Customs clearance issues, supply chain bottlenecks around peak season, lack of scan visibility, and incorrect addresses lead to the most delays.

Can Weather Impact Shipments From China?

Yes, typhoons or heavy snow in Asia can ground planes and slow down ports. This causes a ripple effect of delays along supply chains.


In summary, China has become the epicenter of global e-commerce with Alibaba leading the way. However, its massive scale also means logistical and supply chain headaches are inevitable. 

Shoppers can minimize painful shipping delays by choosing trustworthy sellers, paying for faster shipping, and staying on top of tracking. 

With some diligence, buying from Chinese e-commerce sites remains a viable option for accessing great selection and value.

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