Abstract A sound circulation system is an important carrier for the development of the retail industry, and the promotion of green circulation efficiency (GCE) plays an important role in driving the market scale expansion of network retail (NR). This study uses the development status of China’s NR and circulation industries as basis to estimate the total carbon emissions (CE) of the circulation industry by using the system dynamics method. Moreover, this research measures China’s GCE by combining data envelopment analysis (DEA) and Malmquist index to construct a coupling analysis model to empirically investigate the dynamic coupling relationship between the NR scale and green circulation efficiency. Results indicate that China’s GCE is generally increasing, but growth rate fluctuates significantly. Additionally, the improvement of the quality and efficiency of China’s circulation industry has not yet formed a steady green path. China’s NR market scale continues to expand, but NR at this stage is still mainly concentrated in the eastern region. The efficiency of green circulation and scale of the NR market show a good coupling trend, but there is still a significant gap between the central and western regions. Accordingly, this study proposes that the construction of a green circulation system should be strengthened, and that the development of a green and efficient circulation industry should be taken as the engine of the NR scale expansion.

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