eCommerce forecast: China online shopping

What is the forecast for China online shopping? In 2006 eCommerce in China was still mostly restricted to computers. The country’s mCommerce market generated $163million worth of revenue. A large portion of that was apps and in-app purchases, paid for by adding the cost to the user’s monthly phone bill. By 2011, China was beginning to show it had the potential for mCommerce growth, with credit card providers teaming up with mobile communications firms (source: Circle ID). Even then, commentators were still only talking about possibilities.

Flash forward three years, and a lot has changed. Chinese consumers can buy almost anything they want using their mobile phone, and mCommerce is growing at an astounding rate. What could another three years do for the marketplace? What will mobile eCommerce in China look like in a few years’ time?

Worldwide mCommerce forecast

The fact that tablets and phones are more popular than PCs is one of the driving forces between the rise of mCommerce. Across the globe mCommerce markets are growing, with global sales expected to increase nearly five-fold in the next four years. This is up from $133billion in 2013 to $626billion by 2018. In the US alone, 2017 mCommerce sales will total more than eCommerce sales across the globe in 2013 (source: Evigo).

Mobile China online shopping forecast

China’s mCommerce market is showing strong signs of growth, partly thanks to the monetisation of popular social app WeChat. mCommerce revenue in China is anticipated to reach $51.62billion; an increase of almost double the figure from the previous year, and representing a fifth of the anticipated total eCommerce in China sales for the entire year (source: Tech in Asia).

By 2018, China is set to be the world’s second biggest mCommerce market, behind the USA. In the next four years, its mCommerce market is expected to triple in size, having seen year-on-year growth of 165.4% in 2013 and an expected 91.1% growth by the end of 2014 (sources: Euromonitor, Go-Globe).

Currently the Alibaba Group dominates mCommerce, with a 76.1% market share. Its closest rival – – has a 5.2% share. Alibaba’s Taobao platform has more than 4 times the number of active accounts of (at 119.09million), and is used more than twice as frequently each month. On Singles Day, mobile devices were used to purchase $877million worth of goods on Alibaba (source: Go-Globe).

The popularity of smartphones in China, which has more phone subscribers and smartphone users than any other country in the world, is fuelling the demand for mCommerce. Factor in the fashion for flash sales, which see everything from beauty products to limited edition phones selling out in huge numbers. Then consider that mobile purchases are over a minute quicker than on a PC, and it is not hard to see why China is the perfect place for mCommerce to flourish and thrive

(Image source: ‘Online Shopping Concept’ |