Over the past two decades, online shopping has grown out of the niche to become a mass phenomenon. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, online retail sales amounted to $514 billion in the United States last year, accounting for just below 10 percent of total retail sales
The rise of online shopping has been quicker for some product categories than for others however, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are among the latter group. According to Kantar Worldpanel
, online channels accounted for just 4.4 percent of total FMCG sales in the U.S. last year, compared to more than 20 percent for categories such as books and electronics
While Americans apparently still prefer to buy fast-moving consumer goods, including for example packaged foods, beverages, toiletries and cosmetics, in supermarkets and department stores, other countries are further ahead in the transition to online FMCG sales. As the following chart shows, Asian markets clearly lead the U.S. and major European markets in terms of the share of FMCG sales generated online.