Ecommerce in China: Stats and Trends

Last Updated
August 29, 2020

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China is set to become the largest retail market in the world in 2020, overtaking the US. It also has a highly developed ecommerce market, with online accounting for around a quarter of all retail.

In this guide, we’ll look at some key ecommerce statistics on the Chinese market.

Chinese ecommerce market size

China represents the largest market for ecommerce in the world, and is bigger than the next ten countries combined.

Payment methods used by online shoppers in China

Direct debit is the most popular payment method for online purchases, with 68% of transaction using this method in 2020.

Card payments, the dominant payment method in most western countries, accounts for just 6% of purchases.

Chinese internet users by age

Stats from Statista show the proportion of internet users by age.

The Chinese internet ‘population’ skews towards younger users, with over 55s representing a much smaller proportion of web users than other markets.

Leading ecommerce sites in China

The Chinese ecommerce market is dominated by Alibaba, which had a 59.9% share of the market in 2019, according to eMarketer.

11.11 / Singles’ Day

The 11th Singles’ Day event in 2019 was the largest shopping event ever.

  • Alibaba recorded sales of $38.4 billion in 24 hours.
  • It took just 68 seconds for sales to reach the $1 billion mark, and sales reached $12 billion within an hour.
  • The £38.4 billion figure represented an increase of 26% on 2018. For context, it’s also half of Amazon’s revenue in Q3 2019 ($70 billion).

Livestreaming in China

Livestreaming is popular around the world for sports, gaming and entertainment, but it’s becoming a key ecommerce channel in China, using platforms such as TikTok and Taobao.

It works in a broadly similar way to teleshopping channels like QVC, and the market was expected to be worth $63 billion in 2019.

Coresight Research estimates that livestreaming accounted for almost 9% of total ecommerce sales in China in 2019.