E-commerce is a global phenomenon, growing at a healthy rate in almost every country. These are the 10 countries seeing the most e-commerce success.
- E-commerce experiences unprecedented growth year after year. New markets emerge annually around the globe.
- China is the current largest e-commerce market, with an estimated $672 billion in online sales each year.
- New trends in e-commerce, including the use of technology like the internet of things, will help the industry grow.
The e-commerce industry is continuously growing worldwide. With each passing day, new e-commerce markets are emerging and established markets are reaching new milestones. Here we have taken a look at the world's biggest e-commerce markets (in terms of sales) by country and the state of the ongoing e-commerce trends there.
Today, China is the world's biggest e-commerce market, led by e-commerce subsidiaries of the Alibaba group, namely Taobao, Alibaba.com, Tmall and others. With an annual growth rate of 35%, China is also one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets.
Annual online sales: $672 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 15.9%
2. United States
After ruling the e-commerce world for more than a decade, the United States is currently the second largest e-commerce market in the world. Led by e-commerce giants Amazon and eBay, the U.S. observes healthy e-commerce growth in all sectors and, for the most part, has been the innovation house for new e-commerce trends.
Annual online sales: $340 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 7.5%
3. United Kingdom
Despite its small size, the United Kingdom is a big e-commerce player and comfortably secures third place on this list. Amazon U.K., Argos and Play.com are the U.K.'s biggest e-commerce websites, and the country also has one of the highest percentages of total retail sales in e-commerce.
Annual online sales: $99 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 14.5%
Coming in at fourth on the list, Japan is the leading m-commerce (mobile commerce, which, of course, is the future of e-commerce) player in the world. Rakuten is Japan's leading e-commerce platform, which over the years has acquired many e-commerce sites across the world.
Annual online sales: $79 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 5.4%
Germany is Europe's second largest e-commerce market after the U.K. Amazon has a good hold in Germany's market as well. eBay and Germany's local online retailer Otto are some other major e-commerce players in the country.
Annual online sales: $73 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 8.4%
Led by local players like Odigeo and Cdiscount, the French e-commerce market comes in at sixth place in the world. Like in other major European e-commerce markets, Amazon has good penetration in France, but the local brands have managed to keep the edge over their U.S. counterpart in the country.
Annual online sales: $43 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 5.1%
7. South Korea
The country with the fastest wireless internet speed, South Korea, comes in at seventh place on this list. South Korea is also one of the leading m-commerce markets. The biggest e-commerce names in the country include Gmarket and Coupang.
Annual online sales: $37 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 9.8%
Canada is a huge e-commerce market but with low competition. Naturally enough, Amazon dominates the country's e-commerce market, trailed by Costco. Given the opportunities Canada presents as an e-commerce market, other foreign brands are also trying to take a slice of it.
Annual online sales: $30 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 5.7%
Coming at No. 9, the Russian e-commerce market is still in a somewhat nascent stage. The country has the largest population of internet users in Europe, but its online sales are only about 2% of total sales. Ulmart, Citilink and Ozon are the biggest online retailers in the country.
Annual online sales: $20 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 2%
The only South American country on this list, Brazil has a decent e-commerce growth of about 22%. Brazil is certainly on the radar of North American online retailers, but as of now, local players, namely MercadoLibre and B2W, lead the way for the country.
Annual online sales: $19 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 2.8%
Many other e-commerce markets are growing at an impressive speed and might overtake one of the countries listed here in the coming years. Most notable are India and Southeast Asia.
Global e-commerce trends today
The internet of things (IoT) will continue to affect e-commerce in 2020 and beyond. According to research from the marketing study firm Zebra, over 70% of businesses will be using the IoT by 2021 to enhance the customer experience. With the IoT, companies can collect data faster for real-time responses. As an example, an e-commerce platform can send a customer alert when a product is running low and automatically buy it for them.
Another trend in e-commerce will be retailers increasing availability across multiple channels. Instead of selling exclusively through a dedicated brand website, companies will expand their sales channels to include sites such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Pinterest.
Checkout simplicity is a major trend in e-commerce this year. Shoppers often abandon their carts after realizing the checkout process is long and complicated. Online retailers can streamline checkout by using payment processors like Payoneer.