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A customer pays with Alipay at a department store in Singapore. Photo: Xinhua

Mobile e-commerce sales in China poised to top US$1 trillion

Alibaba and lead an online retail bonanza that may attract 443.3 million mainland mobile shoppers next year, up from 410.2 million this year


More than three quarters of mainland China’s online retail sales next year – forecast to be worth more than US$1 trillion – will be transacted over mobile devices, led by e-commerce behemoths Alibaba Group Holding and

That growth is being spurred by the rising number of domestic online shoppers, especially those from the smaller cities, benefiting from the increased proliferation of smartphones as well as efforts by Alibaba and JD to make purchases on mobile devices easier, according to an eMarketer report.

The research firm predicted the total number of smartphone-based online shoppers on the mainland to reach 443.3 million next year, up from an estimated 410.2 million this year.

They would account for 75.3 per cent, or US$1.2 trillion, of total domestic retail e-commerce sales next year.

It is a trend supported by the country’s status as the world’s largest smartphone market, and manifested in recent data from Alibaba and Tencent Holdings-backed

New York-listed Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, reported in May that mobile monthly active users on its China retail platforms –, Taobao Marketplace and Juhuasuan – reached 507 million at the end of March. The company’s financial year is from April to March.

“In addition, Alibaba has expanded its same- and next-day deliveries from 50 to 200 cities, which is having a positive effect on sales,” said Oscar Orozco, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.

In comparison, reported in March that fulfilled orders placed through mobile accounted for 78.3 per cent of its total fulfilled orders last year, up more than 110 per cent from 2015. also pointed out that it had greater order-fulfillment capabilities than its domestic rivals. It operated 256 warehouses, as well as a total of 6,906 delivery stations and pick-up stations across the mainland as of December 31.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Mainland retail sales get big lift from mobile shoppers