Many people buy cheap Chinese products from DHgate & AliExpress and wonder what the difference is between these 2 Chinese websites. In today’s article, I’ll compare the 2 platforms and focus on the following 5 key aspects highly concerned by buyers.

What are DHgate and AliExpress?

DHgate is a Chinese B2B online trading platform for small orders. When browsing DHgate, you’ll notice that many sellers have set minimum order quantities, such as tens or dozens of pieces. The more you order, the cheaper the product becomes, as illustrated below.

DHgate price-breakdowns-for-different-quantities

AliExpress, launched by Alibaba Group, is positioned as a B2C platform to connect Chinese retailers with buyers worldwide. Shopping on AliExpress is similar to Amazon but product prices are much cheaper.

Regarding product categories, DHgate and AliExpress focus on daily consumer goods, with limited offerings in industrial products like CNC machines. However, on the whole, AliExpress provides a broader range of product options than DHgate. This is primarily due to the Alibaba Group encouraging sellers on Taobao and Tmall, the two most comprehensive local Chinese shopping sites under the Alibaba Group, to move all their products to AliExpress.

Alibaba Group and Subsidiaries

Additionally, AliExpress provides a better overall user experience, with more product pictures and detailed product descriptions.

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Who typically uses AliExpress?

AliExpress primarily caters to individual consumers from developing countries, such as Russia, Brazil, and India. According to Similarweb data, Brazil stands out as AliExpress’s largest market, and AliExpress ranks among the top 3 shopping websites in Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Additionally, there is a growing trend of consumers from developed countries like Spain and France increasingly shopping on AliExpress, contributing to AliExpress’s rank as the 3 shopping websites in these 2 nations.

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In addition, many dropshipping businessmen choose to use AliExpress. There exists a wide range of product types available for droppshippers to test the market without the pressure of holding inventory. Moreover, the after-sales service is reliable.

If you’re considering running a dropshipping business, AliExpress is a good choice. It’s essential to verify sellers and choose those with a longer operational history, high transaction volumes, and positive product reviews. This process is straightforward, much like choosing sellers when you shop online for yourself.

For whom is DHgate the most suitable?

Although DHgate has introduced dropshipping services to compete with AliExpress, DHgate still primarily focuses on small wholesale.

The main buyers of DHgate are retailers and small wholesalers from developed countries like Europe, the US, and Canada, as indicated by DHgate’s traffic data collected by Similarweb.

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Many small Amazon/eBay sellers and startups use DHgate to wholesale Chinese products for reselling. Typically, the order amounts are not high, ranging from a few hundred dollars. They purchase only a few or a dozen units of each product type. In this scenario, they can’t meet the high MOQ of Alibaba suppliers, and turn to DHgate.

Here some people may wonder about AliExpress wholesale. Some sellers support wholesale as below, and provide wholesale customers with extra discounts off the listed prices, such as 3%, 5%, 15%, etc.

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In contrast, DHgate sellers break down wholesale quantity ranges in a more detailed manner, offering a flexible pricing framework. This is more user-friendly for wholesalers.

clearer wholesale quantity and price breakdown on DHgate
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What are AliExpress and DHgate shipping issues?

Most parcels are shipped via economical methods but they are slow and prone to delays & losses.

Chinese products are cheap, but international logistics fees are high. Especially for low-value, small items, the shipping costs far exceed the product’s price. In such cases, Chinese sellers, either on AliExpress or DHgate, often opt for the cheapest shipping methods, such as China Post Air Mail, ePacket, Cainiao Super Economy Global, etc.

This economical shipping type is essentially the collaboration between China Post or Chinese logistics companies and other countries’ postal services. The postal network covers the globe and is wider than any other shipping channel. Additionally, postal services are typically state-owned and benefit from national tax subsidies, resulting in very affordable prices. It’s common to see Chinese sellers use such economical logistics options for free or inexpensive shipping.

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Delivery delays and package losses often occur in regions with inadequate postal services like Africa and Latin America. Take the Middle East for example, the vast land with a sparse population and underdeveloped logistics infrastructure. And parcel addresses often can’t be precise to the door number, with only major subdistricts. So it’s hard for delivery personnel to accurately send packages to the door, leading to longer delivery times.

In recent years, the governments of these countries have been working to enhance postal services and strengthen transportation and logistics infrastructure to facilitate actual transport.

China and many nations have built specialized air/sea/railway shipping routes.

Such special lines make the whole cross-border logistics process smoother and shorten the delivery time. For example, Ruston (Russian Air) is an e-commerce special line between China and Russia. It works by package collection and consolidation in Chinese warehouses and then directly shipped to Russia, followed by customs clearance and delivery to the door by partner logistics companies. Generally, it takes 15-35 days to reach Russian buyers’ destinations.

Special line delivery is much faster than postal services, and slightly slower than commercial express. But it is much cheaper than commercial express due to the centralized transport of large-quantity goods.

DHgate and AliExpress both have made efforts to provide a better logistics service.

The 2 platforms collaborate with various Special Line logistics providers and charter flights to offer buyers a better logistics service experience at reasonable costs. Besides that, both platforms have built overseas warehouses, allowing sellers to store products and deliver packages swiftly to consumers, often within around 1 week.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that in the key market Spain, AliExpress and Alibaba Group’s logistics company Cainiao have deeply cooperated to establish Cainiao’s self-operated logistics services to speed up final deliveries. In addition to doorstep delivery, Cainiao applies the Chinese express self-pickup model and has set up thousands of self-pickup smart lockers to enhance efficiency.

In short, cross-border logistics durations are gradually decreasing. As buyers, based on your budget and time preferences, you choose suitable shipping methods, which you’ll see when adding items to the cart on DHgate and AliExpress, alongside specific shipping costs provided.

AliExpress vs DHgate in Buyer Customer Services

AliExpress provides live customer service agent support. For any problem with an order, buyers can chat with the agent to fix it in real time.

AliExpress live customer service agent support
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But on DHgate, it’s hard to get Live Customer Support. Although the platform claims Live Chat for Customer Service, you talk with a chatbot. And the way you can reach manual service is to describe your problem and submit a ticket, then wait for a response. If you haven’t received a response within 24 hours, you can email again. This can be frustrating in case of an urgent issue, leading to dissatisfaction with DHgate.

hard to get DHgate customer agent support.
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The bottom line

To wrap it up, if you want to buy a small quantity of items from China, both AliExpress and DHgate are good choices. AliExpress is good for you to buy 1-2 items for personal use or run a dropshipping business. If you plan to wholesale products with a budget above $100 but below $1000, DHgate is a suitable choice.

When your store’s products are selling well and your budget exceeds $1,000, reach out to JingSourcing. We are a leading sourcing company in China, and 4000+ buyers trust us, most of whom are startups and small sellers on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms.

We make it easy to dropship, wholesale, and customize products from China, from finding a reliable supplier and ensuring error-free production, to inspecting products for quality control and delivering products to your place at the best shipping rates. Tell us your thoughts and get our tailored solutions. Don’t worry, it’s all free before you place an order with us.

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