SHANGHAI — China is already the world’s largest market for online shopping — and it keeps getting bigger.
Gross merchandise value from e-commerce in China grew 37 percent last year to 3.8 trillion yuan, or $578 billion, according to data released by iResearch, a market research firm focusing on China’s Internet industry.
Mobile and online-to-offline markets both propelled this overall growth, according to the “2015 China E-commerce & O2O Summary Report.”
O2O gross merchandising volume was up 38 percent on the year in 2015, with sales totaling 335 billion yuan, or $51 billion, iResearch found.
Chinese consumers are increasingly making small daily purchases — for example movie tickets, taxi trips and food — using payment options on their mobile phones, driving the growth in the O2O sector.
The research firm is predicting China’s O2O sector will continue to grow apace, almost doubling in size over the next three years to 626 billion yuan, or $95 billion.
Meanwhile, the 620 million Chinese consumers who used their mobile phones to access the internet in 2015, also used their phones to shop online like never before, with m-commerce GMV topping 2.1 trillion yuan, or $319 billion at current exchange, more than doubling with year-on-year growth of 123 percent, according to iResearch.
For the first time, business-to-consumer sites like Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com surpassed sales from consumer-to-consumer sites, such as Alibaba’s formerly dominant Taobao platform, with B2C accounting for 52 percent of the country’s total online shopping GMV, the research found.
B2C e-commerce grew by 58.3 percent in 2015 in China, easily outpacing C2C’s growth rate of 12.6 percent, according to iResearch.