China is the world’s largest country in terms of population, and this year could become the planet’s top retail market, displacing the United States.
A report from eMarketer forecasts that China will surpass the U.S. in retail sales by more than $100 billion. This year, the Asian nation’s total retail sales will grow 7.5% to reach $5.636 trillion. Sales in the U.S. are expected to grow 3.3% to $5.529 trillion. While growth rates for both nation’s are slowing, China’s growth rate is expected to exceed the United States through 2022.
“In recent years, consumers in China have experienced rising incomes, catapulting millions into the new middle class,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting director at eMarketer. “The result has been a marked rise in purchasing power and average spending per person.”
E-commerce is a major driver of China’s retail economy, with sales growing more than 30% in 2019 to reach $1.989 trillion. As a result, slightly more than one-third of China’s retail sales will take place online, which would be the highest rate in the world.
In the U.S., e-commerce sales account for 10.9% of total retail sales.