China will surpass the US to become the world’s largest retail market with total sales of $4.886 trillion in 2016, compared with $4.823 trillion in the US, according to eMarketer‘s retail forecast.
China will also remain the world’s largest retail ecommerce market, with sales expected to top $899.09 billion this year, representing almost half of digital retail sales worldwide.
eMarketer expects that purchases made digitally in China will represent a globe-topping 18.4% of the country’s total retail sales this year. China will continue to see large gains in retail ecommerce over the next few years. Online shopping through mobile will account for over half of ecommerce sales, projected to reach 68% by 2020.
China’s booming ecommerce market can be attributed in part to the proliferation of the dominant domestic marketplaces such as Alibaba, Tmall and JD.com.
Rising income and increased internet access in rural areas also accounted as key factors in boosting ecommerce growth.
Asia-Pacific as a whole remains the world’s largest retail ecommerce market, with sales expected to top $1 trillion in 2016 and more than double to $2.725 trillion by 2020. Expanding middle classes, greater mobile and internet penetration, growing competition of ecommerce players and improving logistics and infrastructure will all help to fuel ecommerce growth in the region.
Burgeoning consumer economies in China, India and Indonesia will drive retail sales over the next four years as disposable incomes in those countries continue to rise.
A version of this appeared in eMarketer on August 18. Read the full version here.