HONG KONG: Retail sales in Asia Pacific are set to hit $10.5tr in 2015, twice the 2010 total, according to research published by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The business services firm's new study suggested that sales of food, beverages and tobacco would reach $5.6tr in the region by 2015, growing by roughly 3% per year between now and that date.

Consumers in China are likely to more than double their category expenditure, generating $1.4tr at the end of the forecast period. Meanwhile, India will see growth from $326bn to $507bn.

By contrast, Japan, currently the world's third largest market for these products after the US and China, will remain flat at around the $568bn mark.

Regional apparel sales will also surpass $260bn by 2015, up from $160bn in 2010. By the latter date, China will be worth $90bn, Hong Kong will yield $52bn, Japan on $28bn and India on $13.3bn.

Ecommerce is due to play a central role in driving this process, with sites like Alibaba and Taobao pegged to gain substantially as China's internet retail market gathers pace.

"Approximately 80% of online shoppers in China are between the ages of 18 and 35, but we have also seen that consumers as a whole are becoming more sensitive to product and customer service quality," said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Taobao Mall.

In the FMCG segment, PwC argued sales of soaps and cleansers could climbed by 12% in China this year, standing at 11.1% in India and 8.6% in Hong Kong, indicative of broad positive trends.

Looking to luxury, the Chinese market is expected to achieve a value of $15.5bn in 2011, equating to a 25% improvement, with Japan contracting by 5% to $22.9bn, while India remains "nascent".

"While India still represents a small share of Lacoste sales globally, we see it as a key and strategic growth market. This is why we are pushing to ... triple sales over the next three years," said Rajesh Jain, CEO of Lacoste India.

Consumer durables are also expected to perform strongly, with appliances and housewares growth rates rising from 5.3% in 2011 to 7.6% in 2015. This growth range stood at 6.1% and 8.3% for audio and visual equipment.

"Internationalisation remains our long-term goal and will require a good talent pool. We will move gradually into foreign markets," said Zhang Jindong, of Suning, the Chinese appliance group.

Data sourced from PricewaterhouseCoopers; additional content by Warc staff