Shop or Not?

We created this project in order to make conscious consumption easier: so it’s easier to choose which shopping site to use, based on Snowball’s mission to improve human rights & freedoms in Asia. As such, companies connected to or influenced by business interests in authoritarian regimes will score lower. 

The rapid development of the Internet has greatly increased the number of e-commerce shopping sites in Taiwan, and the trend of online shopping in Taiwan has also risen year by year. Yet, are online shopping sites safe, in terms of personal data & long term effects on Taiwanese? The problem of information insecurity in Taiwan is growing and is worth consideration. What happens behind the scenes of online shopping sites is complicated; company ownership and partnerships, website structure, security practices, payment mechanisms, and more aspects weave a complicated web. In addition, some unscrupulous online shopping companies or operators took ethically concerning actions, such as concealing Chinese ownership through entities in Hong Kong or Singapore, perhaps to evade Taiwanese laws.

To encourage a more prosperous Taiwan, there’s a movement to support more local companies. We hope this project can help inform & encourage consumers in Taiwan to make better choices. This project collects and integrates background information of the top five online shopping sites used in Taiwan, to encourage rational and ethical consumption.

The proportion of online shopping consumption has increased from 12.3% in 2014 to 16.5% in 2018 and the monthly online shopping amount has also increased from NT$1,807 in 2014 to NT$2,207 in 2018, a growth rate of 22.6% (MIC, 2019). More recently, Taiwan Business Topic (2021) noted that the Taiwanese e-commerce market (pure online platforms) grew 16.2% and reach NT$241.2 billion in 2020, according to Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) data. According to Statista (2020), the top three leading platforms in Taiwan by monthly unique visitors (as of April 2020) were Shopee (52.36 million), PChome (32.44 million), and Momo (31.17 million).

In addition, according to IXresearch, in January 2018, a total of 9.296 million unique people visited e-commerce shopping websites through PCs, which was about 75% of Taiwan’s PC Internet population. Online shopping plays an important role in Taiwanese daily life; hence, it’s important to educate ourselves about the sites we use to protect ourselves and practice more ethical consumption.


Why does it matter where you shop online?