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 is a look at the world’s biggest e-commerce markets (in terms of sales) by country, according to eMarketer data published by Oberlo, and e-commerce trends.
Largest e-commerce markets worldwide
If you’re considering entering one of the markets below, you should review the local laws for doing business in that area, and if you’re looking to expand your operation, review this list of the best tools to grow an e-commerce business.
China is the world’s biggest e-commerce market, led by e-commerce subsidiaries of the Alibaba group – Taobao, Alibaba.com and Tmall. With an annual growth rate of 21%, China is also one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets.
Annual online sales: $2.78 trillion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 52%
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. 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 e-commerce trends.
Annual online sales: $843 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 19%
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., eBay U.K., and Asos are the U.K.’s top e-commerce websites, and the country has one of the highest percentages of total retail sales in e-commerce.
Annual online sales: $169 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 4.8%
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, including the U.K.’s Play.com.
Annual online sales: $144 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 3%
5. South Korea
The country with the fastest wireless internet, South Korea, comes in at fifth 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: $120 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 2.5%
Three of the five largest e-commerce markets are in Asia. According to eMarketer, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 62.6% of global e-commerce.
Germany is Europe’s second-largest e-commerce market. Amazon is a major player in Germany’s market as well. eBay and local online retailer Otto are two other major e-commerce players in the country.
Annual online sales: $101.5 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 2.1%
With local players like Cdiscount and Veepee, the French e-commerce market comes in at sixth place in the world. Like in other major European e-commerce markets, though, Amazon has edged out local brands to reign supreme in France.
Annual online sales: $80 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 1.6%
India is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets. According to eMarketer, thanks to an increase in retailers joining the online shopping ranks, India was projected to see digital sales increase by 27% in 2021.
Annual online sales: $67.5 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 1.4%
Canada is a huge e-commerce market but with little competition. Naturally enough, Amazon dominates the country’s e-commerce market, followed by Walmart. Given the opportunities Canada presents as an e-commerce market, foreign brands are also trying to take a slice of it.
Annual online sales: $44 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 1.3%
Three main companies dominate the e-commerce market in Spain. According to EcommerceDB, Amazon, El Corte Ingles and PcComponentes account for 30% of all online revenue in Spain.
Annual online sales: $37 billion
E-commerce share of total retail sales: 0.72%
Global e-commerce trends today
The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to affect e-commerce in 2023 and beyond. With the IoT, companies can collect data faster for real-time responses. As an example, an e-commerce platform can send a customer an alert when a product is running low and automatically buy it for them.
Another trend in e-commerce is retailers increasing availability across multiple channels. Instead of selling exclusively through a dedicated brand website, companies are expanding 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 processing solutions like Stripe.
For more details, we’ve outlined how to develop an e-commerce strategy, covering everything from setting goals to determining which channels to focus on.
Largest online retailers in the world
The biggest online retailers have an unparalleled foothold on not just their own territories, but the whole world – though most of them are American. According to 2020 data from Statista, these are the biggest retail websites in the world:
- Amazon.com: The household-name online marketplace where you can buy virtually anything made nearly $121 billion in net sales.
- JD.com: China’s largest online retailer had more than $83 billion in net online sales in 2020.
- Walmart.com: The department store giant also dominates the e-commerce space, with $41.1 billion in net online sales.
- Apple.com: The tech powerhouse collected more than $32 billion in net online sales in 2020.
- Suning.com: The Chinese retail and e-commerce company sells clothing, food, electronics and appliances. It had more than $21 billion in net online sales in 2020.
- BestBuy.com: The tech giant’s $18.67 billion in net online sales ranks it as one of the biggest online retailers in the tech space.
- Amazon.de: Amazon’s German site had nearly $18 billion in net online sales.
- HomeDepot.com: The popular home improvement store has quickly grown to dominate its industry in e-commerce, netting $16.9 billion in online sales.
- Target.com: The household-focused department store recorded $16.2 billion in net online sales.
- Amazon.co.uk: This is Amazon’s third appearance on this list. Its U.K. site collected more than $16.1 billion in net online sales.
Perhaps as you seek to expand your own e-commerce operations, you’ll find some inspiration in these companies. They have, after all, achieved great success for a reason.
Ravi Bhatia contributed to the writing and research in this article.