Mobile commerce in China is forecast to expand at double the pace of the US, with total retail transactions on track to be five times higher in the mainland by the end of 2016.

eMarketer expects m-commerce in China to increase 51 per cent next year to $505 billion and account for 56 per cent of all online retail shopping. Meanwhile, m-commerce in the US is forecast to rise just 28 per cent to $96.2 billion next year and account for a quarter of online shopping.

The New York-based research firm predicts that m-commerce will make up 10.9 per cent of total retail sales in the mainland by the end of next year, while US m-commerce transactions will only account for 1.9 per cent of total retail sales.

That gap is expected to continue to widen over the next five years. In 2019 eMarketer predicts that m-commerce in China will grow by 36 per cent and account for 71 per cent of online sales (24 per cent of total retail sales), while the sector in the US will expand by 15 per cent and account for 28 per cent of online transactions and just 2.7 per cent of total retail sales.

“The sheer number of mobile internet users pushes retail e-commerce activities towards mobile devices in a way that is not yet seen in the US, where desktop computers still factor quite prominently for shopping activities,” said Monica Peart, a forecasting analyst at eMarketer.

The government-backed China Internet Network Information Centre recently said that the number of users accessing the internet via mobile devices hit 594 million at the end of June, Beijing-based iResearch reported. The country’s total number of internet users expanded by 18.9 million to 668 million over the past six months.