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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


1 December 2015

This month, our blog series will focus on the state of international ecommerce at the end of 2015. We will explore the countries and regions that provide the greatest online opportunities for retailers, and we unveil how the landscape has changed throughout the course of the year.

Today, we will focus on China – the world’s biggest online market.


With more than 316 million e-shoppers and online retail sales expected to see an annual increase of 42.1%, China is currently the world’s largest ecommerce industry.

Growing middle class

Characterised by a rapidly growing middle class and rising personal disposable income, the Chinese ecommerce market is expected to reach the staggering $672bn by the end of the year. At that time, it will account for over 40% of the global ecommerce retail sales in 2015.


With the development of mobile networks, the mobile market in China is also booming! As smartphone penetration is expected to reach 38.6% this year, it’s no surprise that mobile commerce is predicted to top $334bn, making up about half of China’s total retail ecommerce sales in 2015.

Cross-border trade

Another ecommerce trend that prevailed in China this year has been the increased popularity of cross-border trade among young online shoppers. These shoppers are striving to find brands online that they wouldn’t otherwise find at home, notably European brands that are seen as particularly desirable for their high quality.

The Chinese government has also supported the growth of cross-border trade through the introduction of more relaxed policies on customs and foreign exchange. The result has meant the cross-border ecommerce industry is expected to reach as much as $130bn by the end of the year.

Holiday shopping

During this holiday season, Chinese shoppers’ online spend is also expected to increase – up to $150bn, in November and December. This expenditure will represent a 13% increase compared to the same period last year.


The event that brought the most excitement to Chinese online shoppers this year was Singles Day – China’s one-day shopping festival hosted by Alibaba Group.

On 11.11.15, Chinese consumers spent a record $14.3bn online during the 24 hours of Singles Day, turning the ecommerce extravaganza into the biggest day for internet shopping the world has ever seen.

It took the impatient Chinese shoppers just eight minutes to break through the $1bn barrier, matching last year’s Singles Day record before midday.

This year, China’s online giants, Tmall and, saw more than 70% of all orders on Singles Day being processed via mobile devices, which clearly proved the growing popularity of mobile commerce among Chinese consumers.


Throughout the New Year, cross-border trade and mobile are expected to be the two most significant trends to shape the ecommerce landscape in China.

In recent years, cross-border ecommerce has become the new growth force behind China’s foreign trading. It’s no surprise then the cross-border online market in China is estimated to top $1.02tn in 2016.

With mobile networks in China expected to develop even more rapidly in the New Year, mobile is set to grab the majority of retail and C2C ecommerce sales in the country. So, by the end of 2016, mobile shopping in China is expected to be worth as much as $505.74bn, growing from $333.99bn today.

As connected Chinese shoppers become more informed and increasingly look for great bargains, one-day shopping events, such as Singles Day, are expected to become even more significant in 2016.

The Chinese Ecommerce Landscape


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