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Worldwide E-commerce Sales to Rise Nearly 20 Percent This Year

30 Jul, 2014 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – Business-to-consumer E-commerce sales worldwide will hit $1.471 trillion in 2014, a near 20-percent jump over 2013, says eMarketer. The researcher defines B2C E-commerce sales as all products and services ordered or booked via the internet on any device.

North America (the United States and Canada) will remain the leading region in B2C E-commerce sales share in 2014, accounting for one-third of the dollars spent on digital purchases worldwide. eMarketer had previously projected that Asia-Pacific would surpass North America in market share this year, but full-year data from 2013 and first-quarter 2014 data showed China’s B2C ecommerce growth slowing faster than expected due to the market maturing.

eMarketer now says Asia-Pacific will become the leading region for E-commerce sales in 2015, representing 33.4 percent of the total, compared with 31.7 percent in North America and 24.6 percent in Western Europe. These three regions combined will continue to take around 90 percent of the global E-commerce market.

The increase of E-commerce sales in Asia-Pacific is due to new buyers coming online. But by 2018, nearly 70 percent of Internet users in both Western Europe and North America will buy items on digital devices, versus just more than 50 percent in Asia-Pacific.

Buyer penetration in the Asia-Pacific translates to the largest number of consumers, but the region is more fragmented than North America and Western Europe, where E-commerce continues to grow at double-digit rates and will do so for several more years. North America and Western Europe consumers are buying more frequently and with higher order values, and consumer behaviors are relatively consistent across countries in both regions.

But Asia-Pacific consumers are more disparate. China will make up more than half of all the region’s E-commerce sales this year, and by 2018, its share will top 70 percent. Australia and Japan rival markets like the U.S., U.K. and Western Europe in buyer penetration and average order values.

In less mature markets like India and Indonesia, there are large absolute numbers of digital buyers, but many are new to the market. Instead of buying high-ticket items, new digital buyers tend to start with less costly purchases, due to product availability or income constraints.

eMarketer projects that as Internet usage continues to mature across the world, E-commerce growth will slow over time, settling around 10 percent by 2018. But, with sales reaching $2.356 trillion in 2018, a 10-percent growth rate still represents more than $200 billion new dollars.

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