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Who is Purchasing Online?

E-commerce giant Alibaba sold $25 billion of product to the world on “Singles Day” this past weekend. Singles Day is a Chinese version of Cyber Monday. To put that in perspective, the combined sales of the most recent Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day add up to around 30% of that total. It’s indicative of the global shift to online shopping and reliance on the internet for researching products and services. Statistics are rapidly changing, but the following countries lead the world in e-commerce.

China by far has the highest number of online sales at $672 billion and 35% annual growth. Approximately 15.9% of their total retail sales are e-commerce according to business.com. Leaders in China are Alibaba and its subdivisions Taoboa and Tmall. Interestingly, China has a relatively low smartphone penetration (around 60%) for their scale of e-commerce.

The U.S. has dropped to the second largest e-commerce country for the first year ever. Annual online sales total roughly $340 billion or 7.5% of all retail sales. However the U.S. is known as an impetus for change in the e-commerce community.

The British are heavy online shoppers with 14.5% of retails sales taking place on the internet and annual e-commerce sales of $99 billion. Their biggest e-commerce websites are Amazon UK, Argos and Play.com. Consumers in the United Kingdom are unique in that they’ve bought into grocery delivery faster than any other country and are accustomed to superior delivery services. Similar to China, the United Kingdom has a lower percentage of smartphone usage (70%) for their percentage of e-commerce.

Japan comes in fourth with $79 billion of annual online sales or 5.4% of total retail sales. Japan leads the world in m-commerce (mobile commerce) and the country’s most popular shopping site is Rakuten.

Some of Germany’s most popular e-commerce sites are Amazon, eBay and Otto. The country sells $73 billion of product online each year, or 8.4% of all sales.

France does $43 billion of e-commerce annually or 5.1% of total sales. Amazon is present but not as popular as local sites Odigeo and C-discount. The “click and collect” method is widely used in France, which allows the consumer to purchase online and choose a local store from which to pick it up.

South Korea boasts the fastest internet speed and the most advanced e-commerce/m-commerce market. Annual online sales are 9.8% of total retail sales or $37 billion. They also have the highest percentage of smart phone penetration at 88%.

Canada comes in eighth in terms of e-commerce, with annual online sales of $30 billion or 5.7% of total sales. Amazon and Costco currently have few e-commerce competitors in the country.

Russia has the largest population of internet users in Europe but they’re not purchasing online. Online sales are 2% of total sales, or about $20 billion. The largest online shopping sites are Ulmart, Citilink and Ozon.

Brazil has a growing online shopping presence but only 2.8% of sales are done online or $19 billion annually. E-commerce sites include MercadoLibre and B2W Digital.

Other growing e-commerce and m-commerce markets are in Norway, Finland, India and the countries of Southeast Asia. Barriers to e-commerce include a lack of delivery options (India) and overzealous credit card fraud protection rejecting genuine buyers (Mexico).

Nielsen estimates that retail e-commerce will grow by 20% annually to reach $4 trillion worldwide by 2020. That is, it will nearly double from the current market. With the number of digitally engaged customers increasing worldwide, a savvy website and smooth online experience for potential customers are more important than ever.

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