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Chinese Consumers Moving Online - China has surpassed the U.S. in Online Retail Sales

The successful IPOs of Chinese ecommerce companies VIPSHOP (ticker VIPS), Jumei International (ticker JMEI), Jingdong (ticker JD) and the much-anticipated IPO of Alibaba in the near future, have one thing in common, ecommerce.   

Stock Performance of VIPS


Stock Performance of JMEI


Stock Performance of JD


These companies have benefited from Chinese consumers’ embrace of online shopping, which has been a result of fast-growing disposable income per capita in China.


Urban Household Per Capita Disposable Income

Retail Sales*

Internet Sales



1 trillion




1.58 trillion

213 billion



2.46 trillion (E)

611 billion (E)

Currency = USD
* Excluding motor vehicles, fuel, and the sales of products that could be characterized primarily as the provision of a service, such as meals in restaurants.

Online retail sales in the U.S. was $225.5 billion in 2012 and will grow to $384 billion, according to eMarketer.  China surpassed the U.S. in the online retail sales by 2013; however, China's online retail penetration of Internet users was 42.9% in 2012, compared to 71.6% in the United States.  iResearch expects that China's online retail penetration may increase to 53.7% by 2016.

What do Chinese consumers like to shop online?  Consumption of apparels and shoes is catching up fast with that of electronic and gaming products.

Unit:  1 billion RMB

Chinese male and female consumers differ in online shopping behavior.
Among the most popular online shopping items, both male and female consumers share their preference of shopping baby products online.  Apparel and shoe shopping are similarly popular to both male and female consumers.  

Most popular items for Chinese female consumers online:

Most popular items for Chinese male consumers online: