eCommerce refers to businesses, companies, and individuals selling goods or services online. Today, many products - such as movies, music, books, and academic papers - are sold and purchased most commonly via eCommerce platforms.
Other goods like food, beverages, and consumables are more often purchased in person. And yet eCommerce statistics show that these items are also growing in popularity. This is not because people are getting lazy - quite the opposite. People with money simply no longer have the time to cook.
Now, as the changes in eCommerce reflect some shifts in our real lives, it’s often difficult to keep track of all the sharp turns. If you’re in this business, it’s important to stay on top of these changes and adapt to global trends.
With that in mind, we’ve collected some of the most recent, up-to-date eCommerce sales statistics to help you meet your new challenges in 2021. We’ve included reports from Nielsen and Shopify, as well as scholarly articles from world-renowned universities. It’s a mixed bag of reliable sources that ensures we approach the subject from every possible angle.
So, if you want to know how to draw attention to your product or service online and what conversion-killing traps you ought to avoid, check out our stats and commentaries below.
The number of online shoppers is skyrocketing. The more popular online commerce is, the more trust people are likely to put in this type of service. Ordering food, deciding which retail store’s new collection best fits your style, and even planning vacations or business trips all now take place online.
When you browse online, you can do more in-depth research in a shorter timespan and also enjoy competitive price offers. A whole range of digital resources, such as product reviews, are also easier to access online. Not sure about the food quality of a restaurant? Just check out the average score based on hundreds of online reviews and make an informed decision.
Global eCommerce statistics show that plastic is still the most popular option for online payments. In the US, there are approximately 160 million credit card holders, which is about half of the total population. All these credit card users are potential eCommerce shoppers, and businesses will use various tricks to lure them in. (Medium)
The second-most popular payment method, PayPal connects directly to a user’s bank account, so there’s no need to even own a credit card. And since buyers can pay for merchandise immediately, sellers receive payments immediately, without having to wait for checks to go through the mail or clear the bank. Considering the convenience, it’s easy to understand why this eCommerce statistic remains true in 2020.
Still, one of the biggest disadvantages of PayPal is its payment policy. Although transactions are fast, if you look at all suspicious or dodgy, PayPal can withhold payments for up to 21 days.
In the first quarter of 2020, there were 325 million active accounts worldwide, representing a 17% year-on-year growth. In 2002, PayPal was acquired by auction site eBay, which basically propelled it to fame, becoming the best-known eWallet in the world. In order to improve its coverage of all demographics of online shoppers, PayPal recently expanded to brick-and-mortar retailers and shops. As of December 2018, 36% of North American retailers accepted PayPal as a payment method and 34% planned to do so within the next 24 months.
Physical sales are still customers’ favorite purchase option. However, the penetration of online commerce into consumers’ lives has been growing steadily for years now, showing no signs of slowing down. What’s more, the less popular sectors are expected to become more open to eCommerce options. Based on online shopping statistics by year so far, we can predict the growth rate for 2020, 2021, and 2022 to be 19%, 17.1%, and 15.6%, respectively.
Online shopping and retail have witnessed a steady growth in popularity worldwide. eCommerce’s share of total global retail sales has nearly doubled from 2015 to 2019. Four years ago, just 7.4% of all retail sales were made online, while in 2019 this number rose to 14.1%, generating a total of $3.5 trillion. Statistics on online shopping vs in-store shopping tell us that in the next four years, 22% of retail sales will come from online shopping channels, which will drastically affect the global eCommerce success rate.
As the figure above indicates, eCommerce is so much more than just buying stuff from a website. In this day in age, if you don’t realize, appreciate, and take advantage of the complex and evolving synergy of online and offline commerce, it’s unlikely that your business will thrive. The very fact that there is such a thing as “offline” shopping in contemporary discourse shows traditional shopping is no longer the norm.
(Ovum’s The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026)
The UK is generally considered the world’s most mature click-and-collect market, so it spearheads this global trend. The majority of today’s retailers use pickup points in convenience stores, post offices, and lockers, along with the more established own-store click-and-collect model.
With increased internet penetration both on desktop and mobile devices, the future of eCommerce is getting brighter by the hour. And the numbers keep rising - by 2021, more than 2.14 billion people will be buying goods and services online. That’s quite an increase from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016. It makes sense because, nowadays, you can make a purchase using any device.
Mobile commerce refers to commercial transactions conducted online via cell phones. Today, most people browse the web on mobile devices instead of desktop computers. Your customers are likely to spend a lot of their waking hours on their phones. Most of the time they do so for no reason whatsoever other than to avoid the boredom trap. So, this is your chance to grab their attention and present your offer.
(Ovum’s The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026)
According to Ovum’s mobile eCommerce stats report, business owners ought to adjust their marketing strategies to this new reality. As payments in general evolve slowly, mobile devices will take the lead but won’t replace desktop outright. Service development and adoption will speed up and ultimately reduce the use of physical credit cards. What’s more, they will also radically diminish cash payments.
According to the 2018 Synchrony Retailer Mobile Apps eCommerce statistics, more than half of those who downloaded retailer app(s) did so in order to make use of an app-only coupon or discount. Naturally, this eCommerce strategy doesn’t immediately convert all users into repeat customers. Still, almost 50% actually used the app to make one or more purchases, adding up to a satisfactory result.
(Ovum’s The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026)
In its mobile eCommerce statistics report entitled “The Future of E-Commerce,” Ovum decided to define m-commerce as remote consumer-to-business (C2B) mobile payments. The “follow the money” motto works well for making predictions about the future. The mobile-first landscape is growing stronger with reliable, positive mobile purchase experiences.
To add some of the big money to their own revenue, businesses are advised to consider eCommerce optimization options, such as flow optimization to navigation, homepage, purchase, and, of course, mobile optimization.
According to “eCommerce Trends,” a 2018 paper investigating how many people shop online, millennials are growing attached to the idea of making spur-of-the-moment purchases via their mobile devices.
Nearly a fifth of local searches lead to a sale within the next 24 hours. Retailers now have a slew of advanced tools for measuring their ROPO ratio - the in-store impact of digital efforts. They can figure out exactly which ads, listings, and site visits are responsible for driving store visits and purchases by analyzing the data gathered through social media, geolocation/mobile tracking, inventory management software, ERP, CRM, and POS systems.
US eCommerce statistics predict that 2021 will finally be the year when mobile eCommerce crosses the halfway mark with a 53.9% share of total eCommerce retail. This number has been rising steadily for years now, climbing at a rate of about 5% year over year.
Online shopping statistics from 2019 show that the highest penetration of m-banking is in developed markets. In the US, this number was expected to reach 111 million by 2016. Almost 70% of millennials in the United States used mobile banking in 2018.
Mobile banking is exploding, with new ideas from voice-first development to putting humans back into the digital experience. The open system of banking data, however, is not as safe as the closed one that was available before banking went online. For the sake of competition, these safety risks are a necessity, and more and more money is invested in cybersecurity accordingly.
With 20.2% annual retail eCommerce growth, Turkey firmly holds the throne, followed by Argentina at 16.3%, Indonesia at 15.4%, and India at 13.1%. Interestingly, Indonesia and India were previous favorites, reflecting the digital prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
This outcome is not in accordance with past predictions based on online retail statistics, which said the country would reach 33.6%. However, China is still the largest eCommerce marketplace in the world, and is often regarded as the world’s “factory” because it produces cheap, low-quality goods.
This is all about to change in the near future, with some developments already evident. According to the Made in China 2025 plan, the country aims to move to producing higher-value products and services. It is, in essence, a blueprint to upgrade the manufacturing capabilities of Chinese industries.
(Ovum’s The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026)
This is according to eCommerce statistics collected by the US National Retail Federation. AR apps will also allow consumers to view products in their homes and purchase them on the spot from their mobile devices.
(Ovum’s The Future of E-commerce: The Road to 2026)
Since M2M plays a huge role in the global retail industry, it will also undoubtedly further affect the development of eCommerce. The more connections there are in the world, the bigger the potential for automated online shopping.
While brick-and-mortar experiences are much more popular with generation X-ers and boomers, at least half of millennials still enjoy walking into a store, according to online shopping vs in-store shopping statistics. Online merchants are doing their best to understand how they can make their shopping experience more life-like and personal. At the same time, brick-and-mortar stores are going out of their way to establish a strong online presence and offer online payment options along with effective eCommerce marketing.
Nordstrom, for example, is now solely an eCommerce business, and yet it recently opened a 3,000 square foot store that holds no merchandise. Instead, it focuses on try-ons, stylists, and tailoring. This fashion safe space is made more pleasant with fresh juice and manicures. People can also pick up or replace online purchases here.
According to recent Visenze eCommerce demographics research, nearly 80% prefer to learn about new products on a phone throughout the day while going about their business. The future, in that sense, is probably almost entirely mobile-first, as new generations are likely to put more trust into eCommerce on this medium.
How much is the eCommerce market worth? A lot! Consumers are spending more time, with increasing frequency, on an expanded range of diverse digital activities. It’s undisputed that internet accessibility, mobile technology, and digital innovations are redefining consumers’ every interaction. What’s more, they will continue to enable and disrupt many aspects of consumers’ lifestyles well into the future.
Of these 89%, as many as 74% search online in a B2B purchase process for more than
50% of their purchases. Walking around the block and memorizing the stores you run into, or simply asking your neighbors for advice on the best place to eat is no longer the top go-to solution. Based on consumer spending online statistics, checking for online product reviews, photos, and recommendations from all over the world is now all the rage. Global culture and free/cheap shipping make merch from anywhere more readily available than ever.
Shoppers are browsing the web for anything nowadays - to find a good place to eat, or simply to buy a new pair of headphones. Searching for the best reviews, the most comments, and the most memorable experiences is the easiest way to find what you want.
The mind-boggling fact that 55% of Americans begin their product searches on Amazon can be damaging for the morale of pretty much any small business owner reading these online sales statistics. For example, eBay - once a giant in the field - is responsible for just 7% of sales. With its own shopping app and 40% of mobile reach in the United States, Amazon ranks way ahead of everyone else.
In an attempt to pursue its Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission is working towards more connected, safer online shopping options. To this effect, it passed the new, revised Payment Services Directive. Geoblocking is also limited, allowing customers to view previously inaccessible content. Finally, revised consumer protection options and revised value-added tax rules will apply from 2021. With these improvements, the effects on eCommerce growth statistics are already visible.
European integration began over 60 years ago. Today, the European Union consists of 28 countries with a total population of almost 500 million. With many European countries like France, the Netherlands, and Germany enjoying immense GDPs, online consumers are likely to spend a lot of money. They have also been using one currency since 2002, further facilitating the transaction process. In addition, there are a number of market clusters, where neighboring countries share similar languages, cultures, and technical standards.
This data is based on eCommerce statistics worldwide published by one of the biggest platforms in the world: Shopify. A physical presence is no longer a requirement for taking your business globally. Online shoppers are getting more and more accustomed to making purchases from foreign sellers. In fact, during a six-month evaluation period, Shopify’s researchers found that North Americans are the only ones predominantly buying from domestic eCommerce merchants. During that period, shoppers from other continents made the majority of their purchases from a retailer located outside their country.
The 2018 Nielsen report on the state of connected commerce was based on a survey that polled over 30,000 online consumers in 64 countries. This pretty accurate view of contemporary eCommerce basics and global consumer habits comes from the opinions and data from countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Africa.
Books and movies were the third-most popular category at 49%. IT and mobile came fourth at 47%, and event tickets amounted to 45%. eCommerce industry statistics confirm that online shopping is still one of the most popular internet activities on a global scale.
Packed groceries (30%), medicine and healthcare (27%), and fresh groceries (26%) were the other consumable online purchase categories buyers were the most enthusiastic about. Consumers have less and less time to prepare food and consumables themselves, and this is how eCommerce works - it satisfies a market need.
It seems people now people give up on the idea of making their own food often enough to outsource and seek help from restaurants. Quality time preparing food is now but a pipe dream for busy working individuals. eCommerce growth stats demonstrate that. Even packaged groceries are now eCommerce friendly, as are medicine/healthcare products and goods for babies, children, and pets. Even the frequency of buying booze online has increased by two points.
Some products are easier to purchase online by default, as they are consumed on connected devices. eCommerce website marketing facilitates the process of searching and comparing products and service specifications, as well as their availability and prices.
Comparing online shopping vs. traditional shopping statistics, it’s easy to see why some products are better suited to online sales. For example, consumers can enjoy products from outside their home country, which would otherwise be either inaccessible or difficult to pursue. This includes books, music, gaming, and similar products. Event tickets are often bought online, especially for people traveling abroad to attend the events in question. After 20 years of eCommerce retailing, these products have a higher sales volume than more traditional consumer goods.
According to Nielsen’s eCommerce stats, that’s a 2% increase compared to 2017 for fast-moving consumer goods. FMCG, or consumer packaged goods (CPG), are products businesses can sell quickly and at a low cost. Examples include packaged foods, over-the-counter drugs, beverages, and other consumables.
One of the biggest challenges eCommerce websites face is trust. When you’re not satisfied with a brick-and-mortar service, it’s easier to return the faulty or otherwise misunderstood item. Online shopping stats show that, for most consumers, the idea of knowing for a fact they can easily return the undesired item to the seller and get their preferred one sent to them is of vital importance. Ideally, consumers wouldn’t have to pay any additional shipping costs and wouldn’t damage the goods they returned.
Hidden costs aren’t doing anyone any favors, as every eCommerce business owner should know. Customers feel betrayed and manipulated, and the integrity and reputation of a brand or website suffer a great deal. The eCommerce conversion rate is lower if consumers find anything unclear about the full cost of a purchase.
According to the Baymard online shopping demographics, as many as 28% of shoppers abandon their carts because the site requires them to create an account. Another 21% consider the checkout process too long or complicated, while 18% have difficulties calculating the total cost of the product.
SSL certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. Online purchase statistics urge you not to forget to include some form of safety assurance, since consumers are likely to look for it. Typically, websites use these certificates to secure many aspects of eCommerce, such as credit card transactions, logins, and data transfer. Lately, securing web browsing has become the norm. There are different types of trust indication, the most frequent ones being Site Seal, TrustLogo, and Corner of Trust.
According to the latest eCommerce statistics, COVID-19 has had quite an impact on online shopping habits. There has been a noticeable increase from January this year, when the numbers reached “just” 12.81 billion. This can be attributed to global efforts to stay home. The pandemic has also affected buyers’ choice of products, so they’re now more likely to head online to buy everyday items like groceries or precious toilet paper.
This is a great chance to see exactly how much the global pandemic has affected the world. During lockdown, a significant percentage of online shoppers (27%) decided to buy hygiene products on the web, while another 26% opted for clothing items online. Interestingly, 29% of surveyees stated that they didn’t change their offline buying habits due to the outbreak.
It would appear that COVID-19 has put even more wind in the sails of eCommerce, speeding up the already rapid development of the industry. Online shopper demographics show that more than half of buyers who tried buying online groceries wouldn’t go back to their old habits. The number is even greater (60%) for users who switched to buying something other than groceries online.
eCommerce refers to selling goods or services electronically, from clothes to groceries to ebooks via websites. E-marketing, on the other hand, is all about driving traffic to said goods and services, and drawing consumers’ attention to them. Usually, some consumers are more likely to enjoy a product than others, and this is where internet sales statistics can be useful. If a targeted audience sees your product and finds it appealing, you’ll get more conversions for less marketing money.
The easy part is always the same. First, you register your business and pick a smart name. Then you get a business license, Employer Identification Number, and other necessary licenses and permits. Design a catchy, stylish logo, and on you go to the tricky part, which is driving top-of-funnel traffic to convert into sales and repeat customers.
To do this properly, you’ll need to do a lot of work on learning who your target audiences are, what they like about their product, and where you can find them. Demographics of online shopping show that millennials spend a lot of time on Instagram, while older people shop elsewhere. So choose your channels wisely and don’t forget to integrate multi-channel efforts. A sound business plan and in-depth marketing analytics are key.
In short, digital marketing is about marketing the client’s goods or services to a specific, targeted customer, on a local or global scale. On one hand, eCommerce simply involves selling or buying goods and services. This could be you selling anything from a couch to concert tickets online. But finding the audience for said products using the demographics of online consumers and getting them to make repeated purchases or even tell their friends how amazing you are would be classified as digital marketing.
In today’s economic landscape, the eCommerce industry has blossomed to 24 million online stores. The monopoly held by Amazon, Alibaba, and Aliexpres is so overwhelming, though, that any small business that wants to sell goods on the internet is probably better off simply picking a pre-existing channel. Even eBay is only responsible for 7% of eCommerce sales.
And that’s all, folks. We hope you’ve enjoyed our extensive list of eCommerce statistics cherry-picked for relevance and contemporaneity. All sources included are reputable, recent, and linked in the description below. Our top experts provided short comments, elaborating on the relevant info for crystal clarity.
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