eCommerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the sale of physical goods via a digital channel to a private end consumer (B2C). This definition encompasses purchases via desktop computers (including notebooks and laptops) as well as purchases via mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets) through a website or mobile application. The eCommerce market includes businesses that operate solely online, as well as those that have a physical presence but also sell products or services online. eCommerce encompasses a wide range of industries, from retail and consumer goods to travel and hospitality, and is a rapidly growing segment of the global economy. The rise of eCommerce has enabled businesses to reach customers worldwide, increase sales, and offer new and innovative products and services.
eCommerce consists of eight different markets:
The Beauty, Health, Personal & Household Care market includes the sale of products related to personal care, beauty, and household essentials through digital channels which covers a wide range of products, such as haircare, makeup, vitamins and supplements, and household cleaning products.
The Beverages market contains the sale of various types of beverages through digital channels which covers a wide range of products, such as beverages, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee, and energy drinks.
The Electronics market comprises the sale of electronic devices, gadgets, and accessories through digital channels which includes products, such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, and smart home devices.
The Fashion market includes the sale of clothing, shoes, and accessories through digital channels from a wide range of brands, designers, and retailers.
The Food market contains the sale of food-related products through digital channels with the purpose of providing consumers with a convenient and accessible way to purchase groceries and specialty food items.
The Furniture market comprises the sale of furniture and home decor products through digital channels which covers a wide range of furniture products, including sofas, beds, chairs, and tables.
The Media market includes the sale of media-related products through digital channels which covers products, such as books, music, movies, and video games.
The Toys, Hobby & DIY market contains the sale of products related to toys, hobbies, and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects through digital channels including toys, games, puzzles, model kits, and crafting supplies.
eCommerce comprises revenues, users, average revenue per user, and penetration rates. Revenues are derived from annual filings, national statistical offices, Google- and Alibaba-Trends and industry knowledge. Sales Channels show online and offline revenue shares, as well as, desktop and mobile sales distribution. Revenues are including VAT. The market only displays B2C revenues and users for the above-mentioned markets, hence C2C, B2B and reCommerce is not included. Additional definions can be found on each respective market page.
Key players in the market are companies like Amazon, JD, Taobao, Tmall, Apple and Walmart.
Sale of physical goods via a digital channel to a private end user (B2C)
Purchases via desktop computers (including notebooks) and purchases via mobile devices such as Apple iPhones
Digital media such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Kindle
Digitally distributed services (e.g. plane tickets) such as Expedia
B2B markets such as Alibaba
Resale of used goods (reCommerce) such as refurbed
In the last decade, the eCommerce market has evolved from a simple concept of brick-and-mortar retail to a shopping ecosystem that involves multiple devices and store concepts. Many players from both online and offline retail are moving towards multi-channel strategies and are continuously reinventing the way we shop online. Expectations are growing rapidly as customers discover more convenience on all levels – be it product customization, mobile-optimized search, quick checkout processes, or hassle-free delivery.
In 2021, the percentage of consumers who made at least one purchase online in the previous 12 months grew to 74% of population in the U.S., 81% in the UK, and 69% in China. In developed countries, the market is in its maturity phase, and the competition among eCommerce players is extremely high and cost-intensive. Marketplaces such as Amazon and AliExpress are flourishing, while many stand-alone retailers struggle to find their USP, as brand and store loyalty are decreasing and cart abandonment rate in the industry is high. Increasing brand engagement can be achieved through community building (e.g., ASOS Marketplace), loyalty programs, and a seamless mobile and desktop user experience.
Chinese key market players such as Alibaba Group, JD, and Pinduoduo jointly contribute to the comprehensive eCommerce ecosystem in China – and are increasingly penetrating other promising Asian markets, such as Indonesia and India. The Chinese population is tech-savvy and mobile-first, and Chinese eCommerce giants are therefore constantly pushing technology forward. They have diversified into literally every sphere that comes in touch with online retail, from payments to logistics. Current developments in China will – to a large extent – define the next decade’s global eCommerce.
Data refers to B2C enterprises. Figures are based on the sale of physical goods via a digital channel to a private end consumer. This definition encompasses purchases via desktop computers (including notebooks and laptops) as well as purchases via mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). The following are not included in the eCommerce market: digitally distributed services (see instead: eServices), digital media downloads or streams, digitally distributed goods in B2B markets, and the digital purchase or resale of used, defective, or repaired goods (reCommerce and C2C). All monetary figures refer to the annual gross revenue and do not factor in shipping costs.
Modeling approach / Market size:
Market sizes are determined by a combined top-down and bottom-up approach, based on a specific rationale for each market segment. As a basis for evaluating markets, we use annual financial reports of the market-leading companies and industry associations, third-party studies and reports, survey results from our primary research (e.g., Statista Global Consumer Survey), data on shopping behavior (e.g., Google Trends, Alibaba Trends), and performance factors (e.g., user penetration, price/product). Furthermore, we use relevant key market indicators and data from country-specific associations such as GDP, consumer spending, internet penetration, and population. This data helps us estimate the market size for each country individually.
In our forecasts, we apply diverse forecasting techniques. The selection of forecasting techniques is based on the behavior of the particular market. For example, the S-curve function and exponential trend smoothing are well suited for forecasting digital products and services due to the non-linear growth of technology adoption. The main drivers are GDP per capita, consumer spending per capita, internet penetration, and population.
The market is updated twice per year in case market dynamics change. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is considered at a country-specific level. The impact of the Russia/Ukraine war is considered at a country-specific level.