• Two Chinese women arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport as they cart purchased goods from abroad.

Two Chinese women arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport as they cart purchased goods from abroad. (Photo : Getty Images)

According to a survey, the cross-border e-commerce in China is set to expand to a much wider population base by 2020.

The research firm eMarketer said that more than 15 percent of the Chinese population purchased goods worth $85.8 million from abroad in 2016. It predicted that this amount will reach 25 percent, or approximately 325 million people, by 2020.

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eMarketer's study found out that Buyers in China spent a $473 estimated average each on cross-border purchases in 2016. This represented 4.2 percent of the total retail e-commerce market.

Online shopping grew more than 70 percent last year due to the combination of overseas travel, increased internet usage and greater to foreign brands, it added.

Shellen Shum, an analyst at the company, said: "While a new cross-border e-commerce tax implemented in April will negatively affect some categories of goods, demand for foreign goods via the cross-border e-commerce channels is still expected to stay robust due to better prices compared with offline retailers, perceived quality, and better variety."

China's growing middle class will drive the majority of growth by 2020, as they are hungry for good quality and authentic foreign products.

Major sites such as Tmall Global have enabled overseas brands to sell their goods directly to online Chinese consumers. 80 percent of the 14,500 international brands from 63 countries and regions have opened virtual stores through Tmall.

"E-commerce is going to play an increasingly large role in China's broader push to encourage consumerism in a savings-rich country, and Tmall Global is seeing strong demand from the affluent younger generation," said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., owner of Tmall Global.

The major reason for consumers to shop via these online websites was due to their change in lifestyle and a freer-spending sentiment that pushes the millennial generation to try out new products.

According to a joint report by consultancy Accenture and AliResearch, the research arm of Alibaba, cross-border business-to-customer shopping will continue to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 27.4 percent in the next five years, with the market ballooning to $1 trillion in 2020 from $230 billion in 2014.