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2019: China to Surpass US in Total Retail Sales

January 23, 2019 (New York, NY) – China is poised to become the world’s top retail market in 2019, displacing the US.  China’s retail sales this year will surpass that of the US by more than $100 billion, according to eMarketer’s latest worldwide retail and ecommerce forecast.

This year, China’s total retail sales will grow 7.5% to reach $5.636 trillion.  For comparison, US retail sales will grow 3.3% to reach $5.529 trillion. Growth rates are slowing for both countries, but China’s growth rate will exceed that of the US through 2022.

“In recent years, consumers in China have experienced rising incomes, catapulting millions into the new middle class,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting director at eMarketer. “The result has been marked rise in purchasing power and average spending per person.”

Ecommerce is a major driver of China’s retail economy, with sales growing more than 30% in 2019 to reach $1.989 trillion. That means 35.3% of China’s retail sales occur online, by far the highest rate in the world.  The US lags far behind, with ecommerce on track to represent 10.9% of its retail sales. China surpassed the US in ecommerce sales in 2013.

By the end of this year, China will have 55.8% of all online retail sales globally, with that figure expected to exceed 63% by 2022.  The US’s share of the global ecommerce market is expected to drop to 15% by 2022.

Alibaba will lead ecommerce sales in China with a 53.3% share.  Its share has been steadily declining for the past several years, as smaller players chip away at the ecommerce giant’s dominance.  In particular, social commerce platform Pinduoduo has seen triple-digit growth since 2016, although its share remains small.

“Relative newcomers and multichannel retailers continue to take share from giants Alibaba and JD.com,” Peart said.  “The mature players set their sights on further international expansion.  Smaller local players are finding their niche in the Chinese ecommerce market by integrating WeChat and using online-to-offline data to better target consumers.”

 

Methodology
eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

 

About eMarketer
Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world. eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy. eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research, including forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally. In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.

 

For more information, contact:
Douglas Clark
Global Director of Public Relations
646-863-8807
dclark@emarketer.com

@dcemarketer

Posted on January 23, 2019.