China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year in the first three quarters of the year, accelerating from the 10.3 percent expansion in the first half of the year, on the back of robust online sales, official data showed Wednesday.
Total retail sales of consumer goods stood at 23.8 trillion yuan (about 3.54 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first nine months of 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The data showed strong consumption in rural areas, with retail sales expanding 10.9 percent, outpacing the 10.3 percent expansion in urban areas.
Internet-based retail continued to boom, with online sales surging 26.1 percent year on year to nearly 3.5 trillion yuan from January to September.
Retail sales have contributed significantly to China's economic growth as the country is shifting from an export-driven economy to a consumption and service-led one. In the first three quarters, consumption contributed 71 percent to China's GDP growth, up 13.3 percentage points on the same period last year, said NBS spokesperson Sheng Laiyun at a press conference.
Booming retail sales are behind China's stabilizing economy, which grew 6.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2016, steady with the first half of the year, and within the government's target range of between 6.5 and 7 percent for 2016.