When it comes to e-commerce, America is still top dog, with some 170 million people scouring for bargains on the internet. However, China is not far behind, with 145 million online shoppers, and it could become the world's most valuable e-commerce market within four years.
In a new report, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) calculates that every year for the foreseeable future another 30 million Chinese will go online to shop for the first time. By 2015 they will each be spending $1,000 a year-about what Americans spend online now. BCG calculates that e-commerce could rise from 3.3 percent of China's retail sales today to 7.4 percent by 2015-a jump that took a decade in America.
The Chinese government has heavily subsidized the rollout of high-speed access, so internet penetration now approaches rich-country levels. That boosts e-commerce, of course. But so, too, do the shortcomings of China's costly, inefficient bricks-and-mortar retailers.
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