China Will Overtake U.S. in Retail Sales in 2019

New middle class will grow China’s e-commerce to $5.6 trillion this year.

February 04, 2019

BEIJING, China – In 2019, China’s retail sales will surpass that of the U.S. by more than $100 billion, predicts eMarketer, a New York City-based market research company.

According to a report from, China’s total retail sales will grow 7.5%, reaching $5.636 trillion this year. Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales will grow 3.3% to $5.529 trillion. Growth rates are slowing for both countries, but China’s growth rate will exceed that of the U.S. through 2022.

“In recent years, consumers in China have experienced rising incomes,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting director at eMarketer. “This has catapulted millions into the new middle class. The result has been a marked rise in purchasing power and average spending per person.”

Ecommerce is a major driver of China’s retail economy, and by the end of the year, the country will have 55.8% of all online retail sales globally. China overtook the U.S. in ecommerce sales in 2013.

China-based Alibaba, the world’s biggest online commerce company, leads ecommerce sales in China with a 53.3% share. The November 11 Singles’ Day (a holiday popular among young Chinese people that celebrate their pride in being single), set new sales records this year. Launched by Alibaba in 2009, the first event featured 27 merchants and generated US$7.8 million in gross merchandise value (GMV). Fast forward to 2018, when Singles’ Day featured 180,000 brands and generated US$30.8 billion in GMV—a 27% increase from 2017. Purchases were recorded from 230 countries and regions, and more than 40% of consumers made purchases from international brands.

For more on China and its leading retail trends, consider attending the 2019 NACS Convenience Summit Asia,  held at The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi in Shanghai, China, March 5-7, 2019. Attendees will experience a robust conference featuring inspiring speakers and case studies and stimulating discussions on critical industry topics, plus interactive store tours.

The Summit will provide networking and collaboration with retail leaders and C-suite executives from Asia and throughout the world, deliver thought-provoking education, showcase the ways strong retailers succeed and feature diverse retail formats of some of Asia’s strongest retailers.