For most retailers, eCommerce accounts for the majority of sales growth. But did you know that global eCommerce growth is largely driven by sales in China (30% growth rate)? Western Europe has the slowest eCommerce sales growth rate of 12%.

China has, for a long time, been perceived as production oriented, but in the last few years its economy has made a pivot and focused on eCommerce. This is clear in the TOP 10 eRetailer sales rank 2017. Usually dominated by the U.S., the list has filled up with the leaders of Chinese eCommerce. Some of the former eCommerce leaders have been surpassed by Chinese companies such as, Suning, and Vipshop.


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Top e-retailer sales rank 2017

  1. Inc. | USA
  2. Inc. (3rd last year) | China
  3. Apple Inc. (2) | USA
  4. Walmart Stores, Inc | USA
  5. Suning Commerce Group Co. Ltd (10th last year) | China
  6. Otto GmbH & Co KG (5) | Germany
  7. Tesco PLC (6) | UK
  8. Vipshop Holdings Limited (new) | China
  9. Liberty Interactive Corporation (8) | USA
  10. Macy’s Inc (7) | USA

Source: Top 50 e-retailers chart in 2017

The fastest growing eRetailers from the list are Vipshop (128%) and Suning (71%). Both Chinese. Vipshop is a leading online discount retailer for brands in China. Suning is one of the largest non-government retailers in China.

Top 10 eCommerce sites

When you analyze the Top 10 eCommerce sites in the world based on traffic, you will find only 3 from the States. The most represented country is of course China:

  1. Inc. | USA
  2. Taobao | China
  3. eBay | USA
  4. Tmall | China
  5. Aliexpress | China
  6. Inc. | China
  7. Walmart Stores, Inc | USA
  8. Mercadolivre | Brasil
  9. Rakuten | Japan
  10. Allegro | Poland

Chinese players are swinging for the fences

What drove such vast changes on the Chinese market? In the last few years, China has turned from a cash-based to a cashless economy, and this is one of the factors that turned people on to eCommerce.

To adjust, Chinese eCommerce took a mobile-first approach and used social eCommerce models to reach customers. Chinese eCommerce trends focus on mobile solutions, fast interactions and aggregating products, as well as services, on marketplaces. They attempt new solutions and many of them become ubiquitous with a speed improbable for Europe or the U.S.


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Chinese retailers merge online and in-store experiences. Think about Alibaba – these guys think about retail in the long run. To understand clients better, they bought a shopping mall. Now they are starting multiple retail initiatives (eg. Hema a chain of cashless supermarkets).

Suning does similar things. They turned typical department stores into so-called “cloud” stores where half of the store is devoted to a see & touch area, where customers can try products and order them online for home delivery.

This is a new approach to figure out how the omnichannel of the future should look and this is indeed very impressive.

As someone said – it will be easier for Alibaba to enter the U.S. than for Amazon to enter China.


Download: State of mobile-first eCommerce