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China to overtake U.S. as largest retail market with $4.886 trillion

Staff Writer | August 19, 2016
China, is predicted to overtake the United States in annual retail sales by the end of this year, according to eMarketer.
China retail
Trade in China   Retail e-commerce sales to reach $899.09 billion
Total retail spending on the mainland is forecast to grow 13.3 percent to reach $4.886 trillion this year, up from $4.313 trillion last year, to edge past the estimated $4.823 trillion expenditure in the US in the same period, said the study.

The milestone for China, which counts about potential 1.4 billion consumers, would come two years earlier than expected.

Monica Beart, the forecasting director at eMarketer, said e-commerce will continue to anchor overall retail growth on the mainland amid the expansion of its middle class, deeper mobile and internet penetration, and improvement in logistics and infrastructure support.

Retail e-commerce sales on the mainland are estimated to reach $899.09 billion by end-December, which would “represent a globe-topping 18.4 percent of the country’s total retail sales this year”, she said.

In the U.S., retail e-commerce sales are expected to account for 8.2 percent of the overall retail spending this year in the world’s biggest economy.

The eMarketer data showed the gap between the overall retail spending in China and the U.S .to significantly widen by 2020. Total retail sales on the mainland that year would hit $7.086 trillion, compared with $5.476 trillion in the U.S.

“China will continue to see massive gains in retail e-commerce over the next few years, with sales topping $2.416 trillion in 2020,” Beart said.