Taiwan is a prime case study of how physical shopping cum socialisation can co-exist successfully with e-commerce.

The store and mall-based retail market in Taiwan is likely to post sluggish growth this year compared to the robust growth of e-commerce, according to EuroMonitor. A combination of factors are causing the decline in brick-and-mortar sales– notably stagnant salaries, economic uncertainty, declining Chinese arrivals and most tellingly, the rise of e-commerce.

2017’s retail sales figures may show a decline but it grew at a healthy pace in 2016 despite the weak purchasing power. According to reports, the key drivers for the growth have been increased activities by retailers and credit card issuers. At the same time, e-retailing posted strong gains with many large-scale retailers launching their own online stores.

In other words, Taiwan is a prime case study on the convergence of the online and offline platforms due primarily to the pragmatic nature of Taiwanese consumers who will use whatever channel that best suits their needs.

There is evidence that traditional retailers which can successfully ride on the e-commerce boom can still thrive. An example is Eslite Spectrum Corp., the bookstore, shopping mall, and restaurant operator, which has rebranded its stores as lifestyle destinations; while also having an online shopping channel. Its iconic 24-hour store on Taipei’s DunHua South Road attract both locals and tourists alike. There, they can eat, drink, socialize, attend film screenings, musical performances and lectures – and sometimes shop for books.

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