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China poised for e-commerce dominance

02 September 2013 - 09:49 by Graham Miller

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China is likely to overtake the US when it comes to online spending in 2013, making it home to the world's most valuable e-commerce market.

This is according to a report from Bain & Company published last month, which also predicts that safe shopping online could make up half of China's total retail spend within the next ten years.

More than a billion people live in China and about 50 percent now have internet access, which is causing a dramatic shift in shopping habits.

Eighty percent of the people who have a fixed line internet connection also own smart devices including phones and tablets, which means there are even more ways to access retail services.

Between 2009 and 2012 the Chinese e-commerce market grew by an average of 71 percent each year, according to Reuters. Compared to the 13 percent annual growth rate in the US, it is clear to see why China is going to eclipse all of its contemporaries in 2013.

By 2015, Chinese consumers will be spending the equivalent of 348.59 billion via safe shopping online each year and the emerging middle class in the country is helping to make the market more buoyant than ever.

While the UK may be one of the world's leading lights in terms of e-commerce penetration, the population difference means that China will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future.

The influence of online shopping in China has been so significant that a number of retailers have decided to dismantle their bricks and mortar outlets and instead focus on providing e-commerce services to customers.

The power of China's biggest retailers is sure to have a knock-on effect elsewhere and American giants like Amazon and eBay are circling the market and trying to find a way to expand. This could lead to power struggles over the coming years that will, hopefully, be good for consumers.