The number of online shoppers in China will grow to 329 million by the end of 2015, pushing the nation’s e-commerce turnover to ¥2 trillion and overtaking the United States as the world’s number one country for online spending, a Boston Consulting Group report has shown.

China currently is home to 145 million online shoppers, second to 170 million in the United States. With stronger wage growth and improvements to the online shopping experience, spending with online retails is expected to rise 33% annually in the next five years, much faster than in the United States, the BCG report said.

In 2006, only 10% of urban Chinese went shopping online; this rate more than doubled to 23% last year, fueled by booming economic growth in second and third-tier cities, and is expected to climb to 44% five years from now.

By the end of 2015, online retail receipts in China as a share of total retail sales will increase from 3.3% to 7.4%, and average yearly online spending will reach ¥6,220 per head, very close to United States levels, according to BCG.

Online purchases of travel services, consumer electronics, casual wear and skincare products are particularly popular.

The top five categories of goods sold online in China made up about half of total turnover, well below 70% seen in the United State, Japan or Britain, the report added.

BCG also predicted a promising future for mobile network-based shopping as China has 964 million cellphone users, including 110 million 3G service subscribers.


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