Half of world’s online retail purchases are done in China
The research team at Hamburg-based online business intelligence firm yStats.com has turned its attention to the world’s largest online retail market with their report “China B2C E-Commerce Market 2018.” Among the findings cited in the publication covering developments and projections for the Asian giant is that China alone accounted for nearly half of total global online retail sales last year.
Online sales of goods and services in China outpaced other nations by far in 2017, constituting nearly 50% of the world’s total B2C and C2C E-Commerce revenue. Digital sales growth will persist as Internet penetration continues to rise and a larger portion of the huge population turns to online shopping. Sources cited in the report point to China further increasing its online share of total commerce as new technologies such as mobile payment services and smooth logistics are put in place and products such as food and beverage are added to the goods purchased online.
The clear majority of online shoppers in China prefer mobile devices for purchases, with more than three-quarters of sales processed through M-Commerce since 2016, according to the report. Chinese shoppers prefer online purchases of apparel over the in-store experience, making clothing and accessories the leading B2C E-Commerce product category.
The global leadership of China in online shopping has made the Alibaba Group the world’s leading online merchant, handling half of the Chinese B2C E-Commerce market share through its Tmall marketplace. The yStats.com report tells of Alibaba’s “new retail” strategy which involves the online leader venturing into physical storefront venues. Alibaba’s competitor JD.com also is moving to omnichannel shopping with food delivery and appliance stores.
Questions Answered in this Report
- What was China’s share of global online retail sales in 2017?
- How much of China’s retail E-Commerce is transacted on mobile devices?
- What forecasts are made for China’s online retail sales growth through 2021?
- Which payment methods and product categories are preferred by online shoppers in China?
- How did the market shares of the top B2C E-Commerce platforms in China evolve through Q1 2018?
1. Management Summary
2. Overview & International Comparisons
Overview of B2C E-Commerce Market and International Comparisons, May 2018
Global Retail E-Commerce Shares of Top 5 E-Commerce Markets, in %, incl. China, 2017e & 2021f
China’ Share of Global M-Commerce Sales, in %, 2017 & 2021f
Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Online Shopper Penetration, in % of Internet Users, incl. China, Q2 2017
Top 5 Countries in Asia-Pacific by Retail E-Commerce Sales, in USD billion, incl. China, 2018f
B2C E-Commerce Sales in Selected Countries in Asia, in USD million, 2016 & 2021f, and B2C E-Commerce Share of Total Retail Sales, in %, incl. China, 2016
M-Commerce Sales, in USD billion, 2017 & 2021f
M-Commerce Sales, in CNY billion, and Share of Retail E-Commerce Sales, in %, 2015 – 2020f
Number of Mobile Internet Users, in millions, and Penetration, in % of Internet Users, 2012 – 2017
Number of Mobile Shoppers, in millions, and Penetration, in % of Mobile Internet Users, 2012 - 2017
Devices Used for Shopping Online, in % of Online Shoppers, 2013 - 2017
Breakdown of the Use of Browsers and Apps in Online Shopping, by Use for Placing Orders and for Browsing, by Device, in % of Urban Middle-Class Internet Users, January 2017
The Use of PC and Mobile Phone During the Stages of an Online Purchase, in % of Online Shoppers, December 2017
The Use of PC and Mobile Devices When Viewing Shopping Information and Paying, in % of Online Shoppers, December 2017
Cross-Border Retail E-Commerce Imports, in CNY billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2015 – 2020f
Cross-Border Retail E-Commerce Imports, in USD billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2016 – 2021f
Cross-Border Online Shopper Penetration, in % of Online Shoppers, 2013 - 2017
Breakdown of Frequency of Shopping Online , in % of Urban Middle-Class Internet Users, January 2017
O2O Approaches Used in Shopping, in % of Urban Middle-Class Internet Users, January 2017
Share of Purchases Involving At Least One Digital Touch Point, in %, 2016 & 2021f
Breakdown of Social Media Platforms’ Influence on Online Shopping Behavior, by Platform from Which Shoppers Sourced Information about a Brand or a Products, in % of Online Shoppers, 2017
WeChat Business GMV, in CNY billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2013 - 2019f
4. Sales & Shares
Retail E-Commerce Sales, in USD billion, and CAGR, in %, by Four Comparative Estimates, 2016 – 2021f
Retail E-Commerce Sales, in CNY billion, and CAGR, in %, by Five Comparative Estimates, 2016 – 2020f
E-Commerce Share of Total Retail Sales, in %, by Six Comparative Estimates, 2016 - 2021f
B2C E-Commerce Share of Total Retail E-Commerce (B2C and C2C) Sales, in %, 2013 - 2020f
Retail E-Commerce Sales in Rural Areas, in CNY billion, 2015 – 2017
Share of Top 5 Provinces by Retail E-Commerce Sales, in % of National E-Commerce Sales, 2016 & 2017
Global Retail E-Commerce Sales During the Double Eleven Shopping Festival, in CNY billion, 2016 & 2017
5. Users & Shoppers
Number of Internet Users, in millions, and Penetration, in % of Population, 2012 – 2017
Breakdown of Total Population and Internet Users by Urban and Rural, in %, 2017
Number of Online Shoppers, in millions, and Penetration, in % of Internet Users, 2012 - 2017
Number of Online Shoppers, in millions, 2018f & 2022f
Top 5 Product Categories to Purchase Online, in % of Online Shoppers, March 2017
B2C E-Commerce Sales of Apparel, in CNY billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, Q1 2015 - Q2 2017
B2C E-Commerce Grocery Sales, in USD million, and Share of Total B2C E-Commerce Sales, in %, 2016 -2021f
Preferred Retail Channels for Purchasing Apparel Products and Preferred Online Players, in % of Internet Users, Q2 2017
Top 6 Stores Preferred for Buying Electronics, incl. Online Players, in % of Internet Users, Q2 2017
Online Travel Sales, in CNY billion, Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2015 - 2022f
Local O2O Services Sales, in CNY billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2015 - 2022f
Online Food Delivery Sales, in CNY billion, and Quarter-on-Quarter, in %, Q1 2015 - Q2 2017
Top 10 O2O Service Mobile Apps, by Monthly Active Users, in millions, December 2016 & December 2017
Top 3 Categories of Products and Services by Retail E-Commerce Sales in Rural Areas, in CNY billion, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2017
Payment Methods Used in Online Shopping, in % of Online Shoppers, March 2017
Top Payment Methods Used Online, in % of Online Banking Users, 2017
Breakdown of Third-Party Online Payment GMV by Players, in %, by Two Comparative Estimates, Q2 2017
Breakdown of Third-Party Mobile Payment GMV by Players, in %, by Two Comparative Estimates, Q2 2017
Payment Methods Used for In-Store Purchases, in % of Internet Users, June 2017
Number of Express Delivery Parcels, in billions, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, 2013 - 2017
Reasons to Buy Products Outside Intended Purchases When Shopping Online, in % of Urban Middle-Class Internet Users, January 2017
Problems Encountered When Shopping Online During a Peak Shopping Period of Sales Event, in % of Online Shoppers, March 2017
Share of Online Shoppers Who Are Aware and Who Used Click & Collect, in %, March 2017
Top 5 Market Players by Share of B2C E-Commerce GMV, in %, H1 2017
Breakdown of B2C E-Commerce GMV by Market Players, in %, Q4 2016, Q1 2017, Q4 2017 & Q1 2018
Profile of Tmall.com, May 2018
Profile of JD.com, May 2018
China is the world’s leader by combined B2C and C2C E-Commerce revenues, generating almost one-half of global online sales of products and services in 2017. Due to ongoing strong growth, China will add several more percentage points to its share by 2021, according to a forecast cited in the report. While an increasing share of overall retail is done online, China’s E-Commerce market leaders expand into the offline space with innovative technologies and seamless logistics, bringing about the omnichannel commerce. Other emerging market trends include social commerce via platforms such as WeChat, cross-border shopping, and the rapid growth of online-tooffline (O2O) services like food delivery.
The report also reveals the preferences of the half a billion consumers shopping online in China. Mobile is the main device used by China’s digital consumers to make purchases, with M-Commerce accounting for more than three-quarters of overall online shopping GMV from 2016 on. Apparel is the most popular E-Commerce product category, with online retailers preferred over brick-and-mortar stores to purchase clothes and accessories. Furthermore, third-party payment services like as Alipay and WeChat are the top payment methods used by an overwhelming majority of online shoppers in China.
Tmall.com of the Alibaba Group stands as the largest B2C E-Commerce market player in China, with a market share of more than 50%, according to sources cited in the publication. Under its “New Retail” strategy, Alibaba launched a number of brick-and-mortar locations for Tmall, including unmanned stores for apparel and books which use facial recognition and mobile payment technologies. Alibaba’s rival JD.com also advances in the omnichannel space with its offline fresh food and home appliances stores. Both companies are seeing rapid growth in online sales domestically and expand abroad.