The emergence of China’s e-commerce market inaugurated a new era in the country’s economy. In 2021, the added value of the digital economy accounted for nearly 40 percent of the country’s GDP. More than a quarter of China’s physical goods retail sales were sold online, far above the global average of 18.8 percent. Furthermore, the e-commerce sector has created over 67 million jobs.
As a result of the fast-developing digitalization within all aspects of modern life, an increasing number of businesses in China have shifted online. Owing to its massive manufacturing industry and government support, China remains home to the world’s largest B2B e-commerce market. However, the growth of B2B e-commerce has slowed down in recent years as compared to the thriving online retail market. Cross-border B2B e-commerce has become a significant component of China's B2B economy, with an anticipated market value of almost nine trillion yuan by 2023. Over 70 percent of China's cross-border B2B trade is focused on exports. The United States, Singapore and Russia were leading destinations for Chinese B2B exporters.
B2C and C2C e-commerce in China
Home to three of the five largest e-retailers globally, China recorded a year-on-year e-commerce retail sales growth of 14.1 percent amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to rapid internet adoption across China, today, the online shopping penetration rate has reached 80 percent. Along with the ever-increasing use and distribution of mobile devices, this also means that shopping on smartphones or tablets has become a new norm for Chinese internet users. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic since early 2020 has also reshaped the landscape of China’s e-retailing. Social restrictions and lockdown measures fueled the development of new online-to-offline retail businesses, such as quick commerce, online food delivery, and community group-buying services. In 2020, around one-fourth of China’s FMCG products were sold through online channels, while only four percent of fast-moving consumer goods were purchased online in the United States.
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Research expert covering e-commerce and FMCG in Greater China