Alibaba.com, the Chinese marketplace, has brought together the figures in a new infographic. It shows that in 2012, the US was the biggest market with consumers spending $209bn (£138bn) online, followed by China at $194bn (£128bn). UK consumers spent $113bn (£75bn). But it highlights predictions that that’s set to change in 2013, with Chinese consumers spending $265bn (£175bn), US consumers $230bn (£152bn) and UK consumers $123.4bn (£81bn).
By 2015 it’s predicted that Chinese consumers will spend $445bn (£293bn) online, compared with $270bn (£178bn) spent in the US that year and $143.6bn (£95bn) in the UK.
The Alibaba.com infographic points to figures that show more than 242m Chinese people shop using the internet – six times as many as in the UK – and that the country’s online shoppers spent an average of £703 a year in 2012, compared with the £1,083 spent in the UK.
China promises “huge opportunities” for UK businesses, says Alibaba.com. A spokesman said: “It’s well known that the spending power of China’s rising middle-class is changing the global retail landscape. Less understood is the enthusiasm Chinese consumers have for shopping on the internet.”