(ATF) China’s e-commerce sector continued to go from strength to strength with online retail sales reaching 2.81 trillion yuan in the first quarter of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 29.9%.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, the online sales figures also revealed an average growth of 13.5% over two years, higher than the average two-year growth rate of consumer goods retail sales by 9.3 percentage points, as lockdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic fuelled a boom in e-commerce
E-commerce now accounts for 21.9% of total retail sales of consumer goods in China. And of the world’s top 13 e-commerce firms, 11 are from China and the United States. China's Alibaba remained top the rankings, followed by Amazon in the United States.
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Business big data monitoring showed that sectors such as construction and decoration materials, furniture, tobacco and alcohol, hardware and electrical materials, Chinese and Western medicines have grown rapidly, with a year-on-year growth rate of more than 50%.
The first 'Online New Year's Festival’ organised by the Ministry and other departments enjoyed sales of over 900 billion yuan.
The growth rate of online retail sales was higher in the western and central regions, with year-on-year growth of 43.5% and 33.8% respectively. The year-on-year growth rates in the eastern and north-eastern regions were 28.7% and 16.2%, respectively.
Cross-border e-commerce is also helping to stabilise foreign trade. The Ministry is one of many agencies pushing this to deepen international cooperation in ‘Silk Road e-commerce’, and support sustainable and healthy cross-border trade.
In the first quarter, cross-border e-commerce imports and exports reached 419.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 46.5%. Exports totalled nearly 281 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 69.3%, while imports were close to 139 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 15%.
The top three source countries for China’s imports were Japan, the United States and South Korea.
Other data showed an upgrade in rural e-commerce. In the first quarter, national rural online retail sales reached about 440 billion yuan, an increase of 35% year-on-year. Online retail sales of agricultural products reached 106 billion yuan.
- Additional reporting by Reuters