BEIJING/HAMBURG: China has emerged as the world's top market for business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce potential, a new report has concluded.

Already the second-largest B2C e-commerce market in the world – and the fastest growing – online sales in the country are expected to record rapid growth for several years, according to German research firm

It said B2C e-commerce sales in China increased by over 60% year-on-year in 2013, representing online activity by over 300m consumers, a figure which is set to grow to over 500m by 2017.

B2C e-commerce sales will exceed €100bn in 2014, the report forecast, as Chinese shoppers continue to adopt mobile devices and use social media and price comparison websites.

Further spurs for growth are expected to come from increasing consumption per shopper as well as new e-commerce regulations designed to provide greater consumer protection.

In terms of product categories, found clothing and electronics to be the most popular for Chinese online consumers, but the fastest growing categories include groceries, baby products and cosmetics.

Alibaba's B2C marketplace Tmall was the largest online retail outlet in 2013, with almost half of the entire market, followed by and Tencent, but foreign vendors have also been active.

Brands such as Gap, Esprit, Uniqlo and Levi's have launched shops on popular online marketplaces while Amazon has launched its own online shop through new investment.

Walmart has acquired an existing online shop while Puma and Apple have adopted a dual approach, the report said, offering one product range through a Chinese marketplace and a different range through their own online shops.

Data sourced from; additional content by Warc staff