China to Become Biggest Retail Market: PwC & EIU

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China will surpass the US as the world’s largest retail market within the next three years, a joint study elaborated by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said Thursday.

According to the paper, growth of the Chinese retail sector will reach 8.6%, 8.0% and 7.9% during the next three years up to 2018, markedly outpacing the 2.4%, 2.5% and 2.6% growth seen in the US.

“Despite its slower growth, China remains irresistible to global retail chains. Although annual retail volume has fallen from 15.6% in 2009, China is still expected to average growth of 8.7% in the next two years,” the report said.

After China, growth is highest in India, with sales volumes expected to hit 6.6% in 2018, followed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

Shiny prospects

Home to about a fifth of the global population, China plays a more and more important role in the global economy with every year that passes.

In 2014, foreign direct investment into China hit $128 billion, overtaking the US for the first time in nearly a decade, the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development said in January.

A separate report prepared by McKinsey estimated that two-thirds of the mainland’s residents will be classified as middle class by 2022, compared with just 4% in 2012.

“Yes, China is slowing down, but compared to the West, its GDP growth is enviable,” Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst at EIU, said in the report.