Chinese shoppers set to become world leaders online
By Paul Carsten
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's e-commerce market is expected to leapfrog that of the United States this year to become the world's largest by total customer spending, management consultancy firm Bain & Company says.
Online spending could account for half of all Chinese retail spending within a decade, according to Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group.
The change in shopping habits comes as almost half of the country's 1.3 billion population now have direct access to the Internet, and of that number nearly 80 percent own smart phones or tablets.
China's e-commerce market has grown at an average rate of 71 percent from 2009 to 2012, versus 13 percent in America, and its total size is expected to reach 3.3 trillion yuan ($539.07 billion) by 2015, Bain & Company said in a report released on Wednesday.
Total spending by Chinese consumers on online shopping reached $212.4 billion in 2012, compared to $228.7 billion in the U.S., the report said.
Chinese companies with retail outlets have had to realign their sales strategies to compete with online rivals who threaten to undercut them in an increasingly competitive market long dominated by e-commerce company Alibaba Group, and others like 360Buy Jingdong.
"It's a massive change. It just means you need to be on the web, whether you like it or not," said Serge Hoffmann, a partner at Bain and co-author of the report.
"Whether you're an online player or an offline player, you need to have a meaningful, credible presence on the web." Continued...