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China Surpassed US as Largest Ecommerce Retail Market: Ken Research

Posted on 03 October 2016 by KenResearch Consumer Products and Retail ,

Ken Research announced its latest publication on, “Retailing in China-Market Summary & Forecasts, offer insights on the changing trends and key issues within the China’s Retail Market. The publication includes an insightful analysis of changing consumer behavior, changing economic and demographic factors, technology innovations, leading domestic and international players, distribution channels and regulatory framework within which China’s Retail Market operates. The aforementioned analysis has been done for 26 products across 12 products categories in the retail market.

China’s Retail Market is the world’s second largest retail market. In 2013 China overtook the US as the largest e-commerce market in the world and is expected to again overtake the US as the world’s largest overall retail market by 2018 with Chinese spending to be accounting for one-quarter of the global retail market within a decade.

Mapping the China’s Retail Market Landscape



Global recession has slowed down the growth in China’s retail market. However the rapid evolution of China’s economy into a consumption-driven economy still provides for enormous growth opportunities in the retail sector. Increasing population with rising middle class, changing lifestyle, retailers spreading to second and third tier cities, market supporting govt. policies and online shopping takes off are expected to be the key factors boosting demand in the China’s retail market.

Despite the sluggish economic situation, the retail sector is expected to register a significant growth over the next five years to 2020. Various retail market products are expected to show increased sales, however at a decreasing rate.A strong affinity towards brands and increasing fashion consciousness will result in more spending on clothing and footwear. The food & grocery segment will continue to be dominated by local players and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.17%, to reach an estimated value of CNY25, 982 billion in 2020. Online platform including e-commerce and m-commerce will be a key channel for retailing over the next five years.China continues to be the second the largest Duty Free market in 2020.


China is already the world’s largest e-commerce market. However, year-on-year growth in online sales in China slowed in 2013, but was still estimated at 42%. It is expected that Chinese e-commerce sales will reach US$650 billion by 2020, on account of increased mobile sales and increased internet penetration.

Key Macroeconomic Trends Driving Growth in China’s Retail Market

The growth of China’s retail market, though at a slower rate, has been possible on account of consistently improving macroeconomic conditions of China, which has led to increased demand for retail market products in one way or another. Consequently, the growth of the retail market in term of volume has shown positive but declining growth rates and is expected to continue with the same trend over the next five years.

China Economic Snapshot 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Population (million) 1347 1354 1361 1368 1375
GDP per capita (USD) 5575 6260 7037 7569 7808
GDP (USD bn) 7511 8476 9576 10,352 10,736
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %) 9.5 7.8 7.7 7.3 6.9
Unemployment Rate 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1
Consumption (annual variation in %) 11.0 9.1 7.3 7.8 -
Retail Sales (annual variation in %) 17.1 14.3 13.1 12.0 10.7
Inflation (PPI, annual variation in %) 6.0 -1.7 -1.9 -1.9 -5.2
No. of households earning over US$50,000 (in 000’s) 1,951 2,764 3,655 4,694 6,047

Table 2:UAE Economic Snapshot (Source: Focus-Economics. Com)

Some macroeconomic factors driving growth in China’s Retail Market include:

  • Increasing population with rising middle class has increased household consumption.
  • Economic growth with increasing GDP per capita has brought prosperity and a change in lifestyle of consumers.
  • Consistent unemployment rates implies that every year the labor force entering that labor market is employed, hence increase in consumer base for retail market.
  • of Households earning over US$ 50,000 has been increasing consistently over the years, which is driving the market for luxury items.

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