Online Shopping - Statistics & Facts

Online Shopping - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts about Online Shopping

Online shopping can be considered a sub-category of e-commerce as it predominantly refers to business-to-consumer transactions such as online retail or online auctions. Online shopping also refers to online purchases from bricks-and-mortar retailers or from online retailing corporations such as Amazon.com or Rakuten.


The online shopping industry has grown considerably over the past decade. In 2012, U.S. e-commerce sales amounted to 289 billion U.S. dollars, up from 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. More than one third of U.S. e-commerce revenue was generated by travel and flight booking websites in 2012. The largest share of online revenue was generated by retail shopping websites however, which earned 210.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. A current e-commerce market forecast projects online retail revenue in the United States closing in on 500 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Simultaneously, the number of U.S. digital buyers is expected to grow from over 157 million in 2013 to 180 million in 2017, according to industry estimates.

Amazon.com is the most popular and well-known example of online shopping. Founded in 1995, the Seattle-based site started out as an online bookstore but soon started expanding its product range towards other retail goods and consumer electronics. Additionally, Amazon has built a digital content business, which it supports with its own range of digital media consumption devices, the Kindle tablets and e-readers. In 2013, Amazon.com generated more than 74.45 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, which means its revenue has more than tripled since 2008. Usage statistics from online shopping websites in the United States reaffirm Amazon’s leading position. In the third quarter of 2013, Amazon's websites averaged over 160 million unique visitors per month, compared to 42 million visitors to Target’s website and 28 million visitors to Best Buy's online presence.

Online shopping is especially popular during the holiday season as consumers wish to avoid crowded stores when shopping for Christmas gifts. The Monday after Thanksgiving has become the most important online shopping day in the United States. Taking the concept of Black Friday to the internet, e-retailers lure consumers with special Cyber Monday deals. In 2013, U.S. online shoppers spent 1.74 billion U.S. dollars on this day, making Cyber Monday 2013 the biggest online spending day of all time.

In recent years, mobile shopping has been on the rise, with customers increasingly using their mobile devices for various online shopping activities. In 2012, mobile commerce revenue in the United States amounted to approximately 10 billion U.S. dollars. Currently, more than 57 million people in the United States are mobile buyers, using their tablets, smartphones and other connected devices to shop online.
Photo: istockphoto.com / aleksl

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