BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year in the first half of the year to 17.24 trillion yuan (2.55 trillion U.S. dollars), official data showed Monday.
The pace was slightly faster than the 10 percent for the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
In June, retail sales expanded by 11 percent year on year, the fastest growth since December 2015.
The NBS attributed the pickup in growth partly to booming online sales, which surged 33.4 percent year on year in the first half, 1.3 percentage points higher than in the first quarter.
Online sales of physical goods rose 28.6 percent to 2.37 trillion yuan, accounting for 13.8 percent in the country's total retail sales, up from a share of 11.6 percent for the first half of 2016.
The larger share proved "new growth sources in the economy are on the rise," said NBS spokesman Xing Zhihong.
Retail sales in rural areas rose 12.3 percent in the first half, outpacing the 10.1 percent expansion for urban areas.
Booming retail sales are behind China's stabilizing economy, which grew 6.9 percent in the first half of this year.
In the first half, the contribution of final consumption to GDP growth stood at 63.4 percent, slightly down from 64.6 percent for 2016.
"Consumption demand is the most important engine of our economic growth, reflecting consumption's fundamental role in economic growth," Xing said.