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New estimates of ecommerce sales in China from iResearch point to continued strong momentum for the sector. The study found that overall online sales in the country, including both retail and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sources, will reach 7.5 trillion Chinese Yuan ($1.16 trillion dollars) by 2018, with annual growth rates slowing slightly from more than 30% in 2016 to just over 20% two years from now.
Additional data also points to growing market consolidation and sophistication among China's online retailers. One indicator of this shift is the share of cross-border ecommerce sales attributed to retail vs. C2C transactions.
Based on iResearch's estimates, retailers' share of such transactions will cross 50% in 2016, reaching 56.4%.
While a number of factors might be responsible for this shift, it suggests China's online retailers are getting more sophisticated in sales, marketing and distribution strategies. Whereas a few years ago, China's nascent ecommerce industry was driven primarily by peer-to-peer transactions within the country's borders, increasingly the online shopping landscape is dominated by mid-size and larger firms from abroad selling brand-name goods.
The rise of Tmall, Alibaba Group's business-to-consumer site, is one example of the shift. Q3 2015 data on retail ecommerce share in China from iResearch found that Tmall controlled nearly 58% of all transactions.
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