E-Commerce

E-commerce is the broad term used for the process of buying and selling of physical goods over the internet. The most profitable and visible segments of the e-commerce market are business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). When goods are purchased and sold online between two businesses, it is defined as B2B commerce. When online transactions take place between a business and a private user or consumer, B2C commerce is the term that best describes the process.

In recent years, consumer-to-consumer (C2C) players have gained in popularity driven by big names such as eBay and Taobao, the Alibaba Group’s C2C platform.
Most recent developments in worldwide e-commerce have taken the market towards a more mobile direction. Today, in addition to online platforms on desktop and mobile devices, many e-commerce players and online retailers sell their products via mobile shopping apps.

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Trending facts & insights

  • Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)

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  • Share of consumers in the United States using online shopping for selected product categories before and after COVID-19 as of August 2020

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  • Total global share of consumers who shopped online in 2020, by region

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  • Cross-border e-commerce as share of total e-commerce worldwide in 2016 and 2022

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  • Market cap of leading large cap e-commerce companies worldwide as of September 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)

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  • Leading e-commerce websites worldwide as of May 2020, by average monthly visits (in millions)

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  • Annual net revenue of Amazon from 2004 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)

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  • Average e-commerce spending per online shopper worldwide per visit as of 4th quarter 2020, by category (in U.S. dollars)

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  • Share of selected payment methods as percentage of total e-commerce transaction volume worldwide in 2019, by region

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  • Share of consumers that shopped online for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in 2020, by country

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Industry definition

E-commerce refers to the selling and buying of goods and services via online means. The three main subcategories of the wider e-commerce industry are B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) commerce. On top of B2B, B2C, and C2C e-commerce, Statista's coverage of e-commerce includes online marketplaces, online retail, direct-to-consumer sales, and the digital shopping behavior of online consumers. Together with key indicators of the e-commerce market, Statista's content provides extensive information on the leading e-commerce players and platforms of the global and regional markets.

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