SHANGHAIShanghai topped the country's online shopping cities with a total volume of 16.5 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) in 2008, and yearly spending online was 2,200 yuan per capita, according to the latest report on online shopping.
The report, conducted by the iResearch Consulting Company, was based on a nationwide survey of 100,000 Internet users interviewed through 84 major websites.
The total volume of online shopping in China reached a record high of over 120 billion yuan in 2008, up 128.5 percent over 2007.
"E-business has become a vital part of the retail world, and large cities, like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen that dominate the offline retail world also lead the pack online," said Liu Zheng, senior consultant from Beijing-based SDR Consulting Company.
"It is also notable that the second and third tier cities such as in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces have become the major growing areas for online shoppers," he added. "More than 70 percent of users of Taobao.com are from those second and third tier areas."
Male online shoppers outnumber women, accounting for 55 percent. Electronic products are the main consumption choice among male shoppers, the report said.
Despite the proximity of several large shopping malls, 27-year-old Shanghai resident Xiao Gao said she prefers shopping on the Internet.
"Online shopping has increasingly become a mainstream lifestyle, and I purchase products or services online at least once a week," she said. "Low price is the chief consideration."
"It's kind of life support that can reduce the traffic driving to those stores," she added. "I am making online shopping a habit and spending more."
"Shoppers across the country are increasingly turning to the Internet for the variety, value and convenience that it offers," Liu Zheng said.
"Online sales will continue to gain momentum as the economic depression period continues."
So far, Taobao.com retains a stable leading position in online shopping with 82.2 percent market share, followed by PAIPAI.com and eachnet.com, with 9.9 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.
Consumers' main complaints about online shopping involved the inconsistency between picture and product and delayed delivery, the report said.