Mobile accounts for almost half of China’s retail e-commerce, eMarketer reports

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Retail sales on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices will reach $333.99 billion this year in China, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates of retail sales around the world, up 85.1% from 2014. That figure represents 49.7% of all retail e-commerce sales in the country this year.

This estimate puts retail mcommerce sales in China at nearly 450% of those in the US, where such sales are expected to rise 32.2% in 2015. Even more striking, in the US, retail mcommerce sales will represent 22.0% of the retail ecommerce total and just 1.6% of all retail sales this year. That compares with 7.9% of total retail sales in China coming from mobile.

These figures indicate that China’s retail market is more digital-and specifically, more mobile-than its US counterpart. This speaks to both the power of mobile in China as well as the power of the desktop (and the store) in the US.

“An overwhelming majority of China’s internet users now regularly access the internet via mobile phones-87.4%, vs. 74.6% of US internet users,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s forecasting director. “The sheer number of mobile internet users pushes retail ecommerce activities toward mobile devices in a way that is not yet seen in the US, where desktop computers still factor quite prominently for shopping activities.”

eMarketer estimates that around the world, digital buyers will spend $1.672 trillion on retail ecommerce sales this year, or 7.3% of total retail sales. By 2019, retail ecommerce will account for 12.4% of total retail sales around the world. eMarketer does not estimate retail mcommerce sales on a global basis.