Retail in Asia


China continues to lead global e-commerce market with expected USD 2.2 trillion sales in 2023

The Chinese e-commerce market is set to surge to CNY 15.2 trillion (USD 2.2 trillion) in 2023, up 9.9 percent, driven by the ongoing shift of consumer preferences from offline to online shopping.

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According to GlobalData, e-commerce sales in China grew at a CAGR of 11.2 percent between 2018 and 2022 to reach a value of CNY 13.8 trillion in 2022.

In 2022, China accounted for 33.9 percent share in the global e-commerce market in terms of payments value. The Asian economic giant was followed by the U.S. with USD 1.8 trillion, while the UK stood at a distant third with USD 287.4 billion in 2022.

The global e-commerce landscape is unlikely to change in 2023 with China expected to retain its position at the top, according to GlobalData.

“The Chinese e-commerce market evolved rapidly during the last five years, supported by the rapid adoption of smartphones, growing internet penetration, increasing number of online shoppers, and the availability of alternative payment solutions such as Alipay and WeChat Pay,” said Ravi Sharma, lead banking and payments analyst at GlobalData.

“The Covid-19 pandemic further accelerated e-commerce activities in China, as wary consumers are increasingly using online channels for purchases to avoid getting exposed to disease vectors, a trend that is set to continue.”

The growth in the Chinese e-commerce market is also supported by the improving e-commerce activities in rural areas. According to the China’s Ministry of Commerce, online retail sales in rural areas increased by 12.5 percent during the first half 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Livestream shopping, which allows customers to view and buy products via online video streams hosted on e-commerce platforms, is also increasing online sales in China. In addition, social commerce is growing in popularity thanks messaging platforms such as WeChat, while sub-apps offered by WeChat run within the app, allow users to buy products without having to download other mobile apps or be redirected to another website.

Looking beyond 2023, the e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6 percent between 2023 and 2027 to reach CNY 23.5 trillion in 2027.