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MOFCOM Department of Electronic Commerce and Informatization on the development of the online retail market in 2020
【2021-01-28】

Over the past year, the development of the e-retailing market has continued to improve, with the market size reaching a new high. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the national online retail sales in 2020 reached RMB 11.76 trillion, up 10.9% year-on-year, and the online retail sales of physical goods reached RMB 9.76 trillion, up 14.8% year-on-year, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total retail sales of consumer goods. The role of e-tailing in promoting consumption, keeping foreign trade stable, expanding employment and supporting people's livelihood has continue to be strengthened, contributing new vitality to the formation of a new development pattern centered on internal circulation, and a dual circulation growth model in which internal and international circulation promote each other.

Overall, China's online retail market in 2020 showed the following characteristics:

First, the transformation from old to new growth drivers accelerated, and the momentum of consumption upgrading continued. In the face of complex and severe challenges, China's e-tailing showed full resilience, taking the initiative to turn crisis into opportunity, and driving the transformation from old to new growth drivers with innovation. The new forms of business and models enjoyed rapid development; major e-commerce platforms that were monitored hosted more than 24 million live broadcasts in total; online education sales increased by more than 140% year-on-year, while online medical consultations increased by 73.4%. "Online shopping fair for quality and brand products", "618", "Double Eleven" and the ongoing "national online shopping fair for Spring Festival" and other large-scale online shopping promotions are held to boost demand and drive strong market growth; green and healthy consumption, "household consumption" and "stay-at-home economy" have been highlighted; fitness equipment, health food, disinfection and hygiene products, high- and medium-end kitchen appliances and pet supplies all registered a 30%-plus growth; online and offline integration accelerated; e-commerce enterprises accelerated the empowerment for the transformation and upgrading of offline players.

Second, cross-border e-commerce continued to gather momentum, providing a strong impetus to the development of foreign trade. According to customs statistics, China's cross-border e-commerce import and export volume reached RMB 1.69 trillion in 2020, an increase of 31.1%. The rapid development of cross-border e-commerce benefited from a series of favorable policies. In 2020, the "Silk Road e-commerce" cooperation between China and 22 countries continued to deepen, and the application of bilateral cooperation outcomes continued to accelerate; 46 new cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones and the "9710" "9810" methods of cross-border e-commerce B2B export trade have been launched to promote customs clearance facilitation; Canton Fair and other exhibitions held on cloud have opened up a new channel for foreign trade growth.

Third, the quality of rural e-commerce was upgraded and improved and agriculture continued to be developed through e-commerce. Commercial big data monitoring showed that in 2020 the national rural online retail sales reached RMB 1.79 trillion, an increase of 8.9%. E-commerce accelerated the empowerment for agricultural industrialization and digital development; a series of agricultural products that suit the e-commerce market continues to be very popular, a strong impetus to rural revitalization and poverty alleviation. The Ministry of Commerce continues to carry out the certification of pollution-free farm produce, green food, organic produce and geographical indications for agricultural produce, and facilitate the discussion on promotion of agricultural brands to build the momentum of agricultural products. Work related to "promoting agriculture through digital and e-commerce" will continue in the areas of new infrastructure of rural e-commerce, training and other areas.

In the process of fighting COVID-19, e-commerce enterprises innovated new methods and models such as noncontact delivery, intelligent logistics and e-commerce live streaming, which played an important role in ensuring the supply of daily, medicine and medical emergency supplies.

The Ministry of Commerce will continue to follow the dynamics of the e-commerce market, timely help online businesses to resolve difficulties and work together to ensure market supply.