Sometime in early 2014, China will lay claim to leadership in yet another key global market: e-commerce, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
Last year, Chinese shoppers spent 1.3 trillion yuan ($213 billion) online, just slightly less than the $225 billion tally in the United States. The Chinese online retailing market has grown at a scorching 71 percent compound annual growth rate since 2009, about five times as fast as its American counterpart, according to a forecast by Bain & Co.
If that trend holds, China will officially become the world's No. 1 e-commerce market when 2013 industry statistics become available early next year. By 2015, Bain sees the Chinese market reaching $541 billion.
Bain pegs the digital penetration of China's economy, or the value of online retail as a percentage of total retail, at 6 percent, higher than in the U.S., Japan or Germany. Chinese shoppers love making online purchases on their phones and tablets, and smartphone use is also higher in China than in the U.S. on a relative basis.
Some 8.6 percent of e-commerce transactions in China were done via mobile phones as of the end of this year's second quarter.