Trade War Will Have Little Effect on Cross-Border Ecommerce

Cross-border retail sales to grow nearly 20% in 2019

November 7, 2018

Despite looming tax changes to cross-border ecommerce goods set to go into effect in January, eMarketer expects strong demand for overseas goods in China to continue. In fact, in its latest forecast on China, eMarketer has raised its growth projections for 2019.

Next year, cross-border retail ecommerce sales in China will grow 18.5% to $144.11 billion (998 billion RMB). This is a higher growth rate than eMarketer had projected in 2017. For 2022, sales will nearly reach the $200 billion mark. By comparison, total retail ecommerce in China will reach $1.989 trillion in 2019.

“We don’t see the US-China trade war having a significant impact on cross-border retail ecommerce sales,” eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum said. “There will continue to be strong demand for overseas goods, often perceived as higher quality, from the growing middle class in China. The demand for such goods is already diversified across several markets, and imports of key products will simply shift to markets other than the US, such as Australia and Europe.”

Most cross-border growth will come from business-to-consumer platforms such as Tmall Global, JD Worldwide, NetEase Kaola and Little Red Book.

There is also strong growth in the number of cross-border ecommerce buyers in China. In 2019, there will be 147.0 million, up 9.4% over 2018. By 2020, one-quarter of digital buyers in China will have made a cross-border online purchase.