Shopping in the fashionable stores of New York, London and Paris may soon be a thing of the past for Chinese customers, with online shopping fast changing the retail trade. Unlike popular Western shopping destinations, the online retail market is a new kid on the block. But more importantly, it is the impressive returns being notched up by the sector that are making it a "must-be" market for multinational companies and Western brands.
Up to now, the global retail market has often been dominated by mega brands with shops in prime locations. Shopping was often an experience that also had the added elements of affluence, travel and holiday built into it.
But all of that is slowly beginning to change as the prolonged financial problems in the Western markets have forced global retailers to increasingly look to China to bolster revenues even as the nation slowly makes a transition from "made in China" to "consumed in China".
The changing situation is clearly visible in the robust double-digit growth rates seen during the past few years. More importantly, in what is good news for the retail trade, the future looks bright for China, as demand is set to escalate further on the back of increased spending power and a growing number of affluent people in China.
The real catalyst for the retail boom in China has been the Internet, which has not only given a new meaning to online shopping but also opened up a plethora of opportunities for retailers in what is likely to be the biggest retail market in the world.