In 2016, China will surpass the US to become the world’s largest retail market with total sales of $4.886 trillion, compared with $4.823 trillion in the US, according to a new report released by eMarketer.
China will also remain the world’s largest retail e-commerce market, with sales expected to top $899.09 billion this year, representing almost half (47.0%) of digital retail sales worldwide.
With China having one of the most developed e-commerce markets in the world, eMarketer expects purchases made digitally will represent a globe-topping 18.4% of the country’s total retail sales this year.
China will continue to see massive gains in retail e-commerce over the next few years, with sales topping $2.416 trillion in 2020. Spending via mobile is also booming and this year will account for 55.5% of all e-commerce sales and reach 68% by 2020.
China’s booming e-commerce market can be attributed in part to the proliferation of the dominant domestic marketplaces such as Alibaba, Tmall and JD.com, which took advantage of the country’s undeveloped traditional retail infrastructure.
eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart commented, “Alibaba, Tmall and JD.com positioned themselves well to capitalize on growing consumer demand by creating their own payment systems (e.g., Alibaba’s Alipay) and logistical services (e.g., JD.com operates a self-owned logistics network).