Consumer electronics e-commerce – statistics & facts

The consumer electronics (CE) industry has always been at the forefront of technological progress and innovation, two important components that galvanize and sustain economic growth. With over one trillion U.S. dollars in global revenues recorded in 2021, the electronics sector thrived off the technological progress and innovation that came to define the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) era of digitalization.

Starting with the radio receiver in the early twentieth century, which constituted the very first electronics product, today the consumer electronics industry boasts a wide range of increasingly complex and innovative products, the latest of which include wearable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches, as well as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices. The most ubiquitous of these products is undoubtedly the smartphone: at more than eight billion mobile subscriptions, the world anecdotally had more smartphones than people in 2021.

The rise (and fall?) of electronics e-tailers

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, online retailers across sectors experienced an unprecedented rise in consumer demand. The consumer electronics industry was no exception to the massive shift to web shopping, as demonstrated by sales figures of the leading online stores in the segment. Online revenue for virtually every major electronics retailer witnessed unprecedented increases between 2019 and 2021. Such is the case for U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy, whose e-commerce revenue increased from 6.5 billion U.S. dollars to more than 18 billion over that period. Likewise, e-commerce net sales of apple.com more than doubled in that time frame, from 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to a whopping 52 billion two years later. However, this period of unfettered growth in electronics e-commerce could soon come to a grinding halt as the specter of stagflation – the twin perils of inflation and economic stagnation – looms on the horizon in 2022.

A short-lived pandemic-induced e-commerce boom?

The growth recorded in retail e-commerce sales seems to have reached its peak in 2020, and the pandemic-induced e-commerce frenzy is forecast to simmer down. In the uncertain global climate of 2022, rising prices for groceries and supply chain disruptions were the main issues plaguing the online shopping experience of consumers. Declines in real income triggered by rising prices for essentials, like food and fuel, are expected to crowd out spending on less essential goods like consumer electronics. In fact, over two-thirds of consumers worldwide reported having made changes to their purchasing habits in the consumer electronics category in response to rising prices.

In addition, a recent wave of e-commerce layoffs has heralded the painful arrival of stagflation, whose hallmark indicators are soaring prices and increasing unemployment. Despite consumer electronics having one of the lowest online shopping cart abandonment rates across industries - at 50 percent compared to around 88 percent for fashion - consumer electronics e-commerce is expected to slow down as the global recession particularly threatens discretionary sectors such as fashion, electronics, cosmetics, and other non-essential industries.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Consumer electronics e-commerce".

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