China e-commerce spending to jump ahead of U.S. this year, report finds

Report illustrates need for retailers to embrace omnichannel, author says

SHANGHAI — Online spending in China is set to bypass the United States this year and double within two years, according to a new study.

According to Bain & Co.'s annual China E-commerce Report, spending online by consumers in China reached 1.3 trillion yuan ($212.4 billion) in 2012 and will surpass the United States this year, reaching 3.3 trillion yuan ($539.2 billion) by 2015, when it will be 50% more than in the United States. The Bain report did not give a figure for U.S. e-commerce spending, but according to the Department of Commerce, e-commerce spending in the United States in 2012 was about $224.3 billion.

"While surpassing the U.S. is a major milestone for e-commerce in China, the key finding in our report is that there's no longer a meaningful distinction between retailers' brick-and-mortar, web and mobile strategies," Bain's Retail Practice China-based partner and study co-author Serge Hoffmann said. "If you're not reaching Chinese consumers seamlessly across all of these channels, you're missing out on a major growth opportunity."

The report includes a survey of 1,300 consumers in China, living in large and small cities and representing various age, education and income levels.


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