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Asia-Pacific Is Home to Majority of World Retail Ecommerce Market

Rising middle classes in China, India and Indonesia are fueling rapid growth

December 16, 2015 | Retail & Ecommerce

Retail ecommerce sales in Asia-Pacific will hit $877.61 billion in 2015, up 35.7% from 2014. For the first time, the region will not only have the largest digital retail market in the world, but its share of global digital retail spend will also reach 52.5%—the first time it holds an outright majority of the world market.

Retail Ecommerce Sales in Select Countries in Asia-Pacific and Worldwide, 2014-2018 (billions)

This rapid growth from Asia-Pacific predicted in eMarketer’s latest forecast for retail sales around the world is in part driven by the rising middle classes in China, India and Indonesia, and the increasing popularity of mobile devices, which is driving more and more people online throughout the region.

Digital retail sales in Asia-Pacific are also growing faster than any other region, and more than 10 percentage points faster than the worldwide average rate. China, India and Indonesia are the main drivers of growth in the region, with the latter two markets enjoying growth of 129.5% and 65.6%, respectively, in 2015.

China alone will account for over 40% of the world’s retail ecommerce sales this year, up nearly 5 percentage points from 2014. China will continue to gain share of the worldwide market, exceeding 50% in 2018 and reaching 55.1% by 2019, the end of eMarketer’s forecast period. Ecommerce is the primary driver of overall retail sales growth in the country.

“This rapid growth in Asia-Pacific coupled with faster internet service and greater mobile uptake, is heating up the competitive landscape where large local players are increasingly vying for market share by improving their logistics and mobile platforms, and in some cases moving entirely to an app-only service,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s director of forecasting.

Retail Ecommerce Sales as a Percent of Total Retail Sales in Select Countries in Asia-Pacific and Worldwide, 2014-2019

Asia-Pacific also outperforms the rest of the world in terms of the share of its total retail market transacted online. Retail ecommerce now accounts for 10.2% of all retail sales in Asia-Pacific and is projected to rise to 20.4% of the total by 2019. That compares to 7.4% on average worldwide this year, and a projected 12.8% in 2019.

eMarketer forecasts that overall retail sales in Asia-Pacific will reach $8.57 trillion this year. The region’s retail market will continue to expand and is projected to hit $11.460 trillion by 2019, representing 20.4% of worldwide retail sales.

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