How Chinese Retailers Are Reinventing the Customer Journey

by Mark J. Greeven, Katherine Xin, and George S. Yip

CHINA IS BOTH A LARGE and a fast-growing retail market—worth about $5 trillion in 2020—and highly digitized.

Given that the pandemic has made digital every retailer’s strategic priority, it’s not hard to see why the Economist opened 2021 with a cover story headlined “Why Retailers Everywhere Should Look to China.”

In China online sales have grown about 25% in each of the past seven years and reached about $1.9 trillion in 2020, when they amounted to some 25% to 50% of total retail (compared with 10% to 20% in the United States). More than 90% of those sales are on mobile devices, compared with less than 50% in the United States. So ...

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