SINGAPORE: Retail e-commerce sales in Asia-Pacific will reach $877.61bn in 2015, up 35.7% from 2014, as mobile adoption and the rising middle classes in China, India and Indonesia fuel rapid growth, according to a new forecast.

Research firm eMarketer said that, for the first time, the region will not only have the largest digital market in the world, but its share of global retail spend will reach a majority of 52.5%.

China alone will account for more than 40% of global retail e-commerce sales this year, up nearly five percentage points from 2014, and the country is expected to continue growing its share of the worldwide market to more than 50% in 2018.

By then, the value of retail e-commerce sales in China is forecast to be a massive $1.568 trillion compared to a worldwide total of $3.015 trillion. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific (including China) will account for $1.892 trillion in three years' time.

Online retail sales in China are expected to account for 15.9% of the country's total retail sales in 2015, compared to a global average of 7.4% and 10.2% in Asia-Pacific.

Although China dwarfs other Asian nations in terms of online sales volumes – for example, $672bn in 2015 compared with just $14bn in India – the report also highlighted India and Indonesia as other key drivers of growth in the region.

The latter two markets saw growth of 129.5% and 65.6% respectively in 2015, the report said.

Monica Peart, eMarketer's director of forecasting, said rapid online growth in Asia-Pacific, coupled with faster internet service and greater mobile uptake is heating up the competitive landscape.

"Large local players are increasingly vying for market share by improving their logistics and mobile platforms, and in some cases moving entirely to an app-only service," she said.

Finally, eMarketer forecast that overall retail sales in Asia-Pacific would reach $8.57 trillion this year, rising to $11.46 trillion by 2019, or representing 20.4% of worldwide retail sales.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff