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Will Chinese Online Shoppers Save Holiday Buying Season?

Holiday shopping started slowly among American spenders but a report from Nielsen asserts the retail season may be saved by a new legion of consumers — the Chinese.

Chinese online shoppers will spend $16.3 billion on foreign products before 2014 comes to a close — and most of those goods are manufactured or sold by American companies, according to a Nielsen analysis released Monday. Internet buying is quickly rising in China, where 32 percent of survey respondents said they’ve engaged in cyber shopping, and more than 600 million people are now online, Nielsen reports.

“The good news for American retailers and manufacturers is that the rapidly growing Chinese e-commerce market isn’t limited to just local online offerings,” said James Russo, senior vice president of global consumer insights at Nielsen. “… Chinese consumers offer a major opportunity that U.S.-based and global retailers and manufacturers cannot afford to ignore.”

What do the Chinese online shoppers love most? Apparel, accessories and handbags make up the top category for their overseas purchases. Other popular foreign items include cosmetics, personal care goods and mother-and-baby products.

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— Bill Briggs