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China set for e-commerce dominance

11 March 2013 - 09:28 by Graham Miller

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The world's most populous country is also set to become the most prolific in the realm of safe shopping online over the course of 2013, according to figures from e-commerce firm, Alibaba.

The equivalent of 175 billion will be spent this year by Chinese consumers harnessing PCs, laptops and smartphones to make online purchases. This will allow it to overtake the US as the world's biggest e-commerce spender.

In 2012, the US was still topping the charts with a total of 138 billion spent via safe shopping online. This was ahead of the 128 billion spent in China, although the growth rate will be much faster, allowing it to overtake its Western rival.

The UK was unsurprisingly in third place for online spending last year, with 75 billion spent by domestic consumers via online retailers.

Our market will continue to expand, with current predictions suggesting that by 2015, we will spend around 95 billion through internet shopping annually.

By this point, China will have stormed into a decisive lead, with around 293 billion expected to have been spent that year. The shallower growth curve in developed markets will see Asia racing ahead.

At the moment, about 242 million Chinese consumers have access to e-commerce services and average annual spending through these channels was at 703 each in 2012. This is still behind the 1083 average spend recorded in the UK, although in the coming years, the gap could well close.

The emerging middle classes in China are particularly keen to use online shopping services and so experts believe that UK businesses can really take advantage of this booming market if they wish.

Meanwhile, it is impressive that the UK is even able to keep up with its much larger contemporaries, suggesting that consumers here are the most e-commerce-savvy of them all.