China’s online retail sales increased 17.8% year on year in the first four months of 2019, a significant deceleration compared with the 32.4% year-on-year jump in the same period last year, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
China’s online retail sales totaled RMB 3.04 trillion (around $422 billion) in the first four months of this year, RMB 2.93 trillion of which were physical goods, which increased 22.2% year on year, the report said.
Online sales for top product categories pointed to significant slowing compared with the same period a year ago: growth in food sales fell to 26.7% compared with 44.9% in 2018, apparel weakened to 23.7% from 28.0% in 2018, and daily product sales rose 21.2% year on year compared with 31.1% year on year in 2018.
Slowing growth for online sales comes against the backdrop of a sluggish retail market.
Growth in China’s overall retail sales, which include spending by the government, businesses, and households, slumped to the lowest seen since May 2003: 7.2% year on year in April from 9% the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, China posted an economic growth reading of 6.6% for 2018 earlier this year, the slowest growth in nearly 30 years.