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Retail sales: China will overtake the United States in 2016

Published
today Apr 10, 2013
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China’s consumer market is on track to earn 4,200 billion dollars in 2016, which will put it ahead of the United States for the first time ever


The retail market in China is expected to grow 10.3% in 2013, after which it will increase on an average of 10.4% over the following three years, according to PwC. The growth will especially be sustained by the fashion and apparel markets, with which Asia has already surpassed markets in North America and Western Europe. In fact, this gap is even expected to widen significantly during the next several years according to PwC. Their forecast sees strong growth of fast fashion foreign brands, which will still have to contend with expanding local competition.

“It is important to note that international retailers will struggle to achieve major expansion plans, because their sluggish home markets may weigh on resources that they could have allocated to investments,” said Sabine Durand-Hayes, head of PwC France's retail and consumption division. Additionally, many Asian countries are experiencing economic and social upheaval that will impact the retail sector. International retailers should also expect increased competition from local players and consumers who are increasingly demanding.”


It is no surprise that luxury is expected to play an important role in the growth of Asian retail. Japan, South Korea and China are already the primary source of revenue for luxury brands, with China even representing 20% of global sales. The success of luxury should quickly benefit Chinese luxury brands and lead to partnerships between international and domestic brands.

A surge in online sales will also play an important role in the development of the Asian market. Approximately 41.4% of international B2C e-commerce is expected to come from Asia in 2016. China alone is predicted to represent 23.4% of global sales compared to its current 9.9%. The growth will be mostly facilitated by the build-out of broadband networks, increased use of smartphones and a major development of logistics facilities in the area.

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