BEIJING: Ecommerce sales across China are set to top $350bn in five years' time, part of wider growth due to be experienced in Asia Pacific's major markets.

According to Forrester, the insights provider, online retail sales in China are anticipated to rise by 20.4% per year between 2012 and 2016, attaining a value of $356.1bn by the latter date.

These revenue levels are comparable with the $169.4bn pegged to be recorded this year, itself doubling the figure from 2010, and in line to grow further as the internet audience gains scale and confidence in buying via the web rises.

Zia Daniell Wigder, an analyst at Forrester, argued China was "unlike any other market in the world" and had already become "the region's ecommerce superpower."

"China's adoption of e-commerce surpasses that of any other market," Daniell Wigder added. "When the US online retail market was roughly the same size as China's is today, it was growing at a fraction of the pace.

"The average amount spent per online buyer in China continues to increase by several percentage points every year, a remarkable feat in a market where the number of online buyers in every category is skyrocketing and more mass-market consumers are coming online."

More specifically, the company reported that only 40% of the Chinese internet population now make purchases through the net, measured against penetration of 58% in Australia and 69% in Japan.

Even by the end of the forecast period, just 58% of the connected community in China are projected to engage in this activity, offering considerable potential for future growth.

In an additional indication of the possible evolution of shopper habits, a 9% share of China's mobile phone user base complete transactions using this device around once a month.

Elsewhere, sales in India should cross the billion-dollar benchmark for the first time in 2012, hitting $1.6bn. This amount is then set to reach $8.8bn by 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 57%.

Consumer electronics and software remain the leading ecommerce categories in India at present, but customers are expected to purchase a more diverse range of products going forward.

Turning to the rest of the region, Japan is due to witness an expansion from $63.9bn in 2012 to $97.6bn in 2012, with predictions standing at $23.2bn and $35.4bn in Australia respectively.

Data sourced from Internet Retailer/Internet Retailing; additional content by Warc staff