China's online shopping receipt surged 66.5% to 1.26 trillion yuan in 2012 and is expected to reach 2.5 trillion by 2020, according to a report released by market researcher iClick.
It was the first time the annual growth rate dropped below 100% in 2012 – it had risen at a compound rate of over 100% between 2003 and 2011, according to the report.
The online section represented 6.3% of total retail sales in China in 2012, higher than around 5% in the United States. The percentage in China will climb to 10% to 16% by 2020, the report predicted.
The report said wider coverage of 3G and 4G network, the growing usage of bankcards and rising incomes will back the blistering pace China's online shopping market grows at.
It is estimated that China's "rich class", defined as households with at least 120,000 yuan in annual disposable incomes, would top 280 million people by 2020, or 20% of the total population, while 60% of them would prefer to do shopping online, particularly via mobile devices. This rich class tends to buy things like cosmetics, infant products and health products from overseas e-commerce sites as such domestic brands have lost Chinese consumers' trust after a spate of scandals.
The number of Chinese who shopped online increased to 242 million in 2012, accounting for 43% of the total cyber population, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.
An earlier report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 50% of Chinese netizens did online shopping at least once a week, well above the global average of 29%.
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