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Nielsen Strikes Deal With Alibaba to Shed More Light on Chinese Shopping Habits

The information will be combined with data that Nielsen already collects on offline shopping.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Nielsen, the media and commerce measurement company, has inked a deal with China’s Alibaba Group to give manufacturers and brands a better understanding of online shopping habits inside the world’s largest nation.

The deal will allow Nielsen to access information about the shopper profiles and habits of Chinese shoppers on Alibaba e-commerce sites such as Taobao and Tmall. By combining that information with shopping data Nielsen already gathers from Chinese brick-and-mortar stores, the company believes it is creating a more holistic view of sales numbers, shopper profiles and shopping trends across both online and offline commerce in China.

“Manufacturers really have to understand consumers not just in the e-commerce channel and not just offline, but really need to understand how people shop across both formats,” said John Burbank, president of strategic initiatives at Nielsen.

A multinational or Chinese manufacturer, for example, could use information on the pathway that shoppers take through Web pages on Alibaba sites to help them optimize their own sales attempts.

What’s in it for Alibaba? In theory, providing sellers with more information on Chinese shoppers and how they shop could boost sales.

Nielsen already provides clients with some data on the online shopping habits of Chinese consumers, but the integration with Alibaba’s data will allow it to get much more granular in its reporting, Burbank said.

The deal, which was in the works for more than a year, is just the first of what will be several ways that the two companies work together, he added.

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