China will overtake the USA as the largest electronic commerce market in 2015, according to a report published this week by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which surveyed more than 4,000 online consumers across China. According to estimates, the e-Commerce market in the Asian country could grow at an annual rate of 33%, exceeding $314 billion in 2015. The study estimates that the number of e-Commerce users could rise to 329 million during the same period.
According to figures from China’s Internet Information Center, at the end of June 2011 China had a total of 485 million internet users, of which 142 million had made online purchases.
“The widespread availability and affordable prices of the internet throughout the country, as well as the rapid growth in the number of Chinese consumers and the relatively low logistics costs are the forces driving the growth of the electronic commerce industry in China”, according to Waldemar Jap, a BCG partner in Hong Kong and one of the principal authors of the report.
In 2006, less than 10% of the urban population in China had made a purchase via the internet. This figure rose to 23% in 2010 and will nearly double to 44% by 2015 based on BCG’s estimates. According to Jap, “A staggering 30 million new online consumers will join the ranks of e-Commerce consumers every year in China until2015”.
Furthermore, electronic commerce will account for 7.4% of the total value of retail sales in the country in the same year, compared to 3.3% now. Jap goes on to explain that, “The USA took 10 years to achieve the same growth”.