SINGAPORE: Total online retail revenues in five leading Asian markets will more than double from $398bn in 2013 to $858bn in 2018, according to a new forecast.
China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia are close to the combined figure for online retail in the US and all of Western Europe, Forrester Research said. And it expected that China would soon overtake the US
as the world's biggest online retail market, while Japan's online retail market would remain larger than any market in Europe other than the UK.
China, which will account for almost three quarters (74%) of the total in 2013, will see that share increase to 78% by 2018. In value terms that represents a rise from $294bn to $672bn, reported Campaign Asia-Pacific
During the same period the number of online buyers in China is projected to almost double, from 298m to 567m.
Japan is the biggest of the remaining countries, with online retail revenues anticipated to reach $96bn in 2018, three times bigger than South Korea on $32bn.
India's infrastructural challenges, however, will mean it will grow significantly more slowly and, despite the size of the country, online retail revenue there will be just $16bn in 2018.
Mobile devices are already significant channels in some markets and their share will only grow. Forrester reported that spending via mobile on Rakuten, Japan's largest online shopping mall, accounted for 25% of the total.
And in China, the share of online revenue that came from mobile on leading ecommerce sites Tmall and Taobao jumped in one year from 1.7% to 7% in 2012.
More recent figures suggest that by the end of the second quarter of 2013, 8.6% of e-commerce transactions in China were done via mobile phones. And on the recent Singles Day in mid-November, the biggest online shopping day of the year, that figure reached 15.3%, reported Bloomberg
Data sourced from Forrester research, Campaign Asia-Pacific, Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff