According to Ecommerce Foundation, online sales worldwide reached $ 2,300 billion in 2015 with an estimated $ 2,700 billion for 2016.
With this in mind, many online retailers are deciding to set up a cross border strategy in order to develop their sales and increase their visibility abroad. According to the Boston Consulting Group, in 2025 the annual turnover of cross-border e-commerce is expected to reach between $250-350 billion.
Here is an overview of the top 10 e-commerce markets in the world.
With a turnover of 691 billion euros in 2015, China’s ecommerce market ranks first in the world. Chinese online retail is dominated by two local players, Tmall.com (Alibaba) and JD.com, and is distinguished by its technological advancement in terms of mobile support. Before you start in China, be sure to optimise your site for mobile: in 2015, 33% of online sales were through a tablet or smartphone. The social network WeChat launched its online sales service in 2014, and since has been very successful – the haute couture giant, Christian Dior, even used the network to launch a surprise campaign for a limited edition leather bag for Valentine’s Day.
Representing 537 billion euros in 2015, the e-commerce market in the United States is the second biggest in the world. Faced with an expected 56% increase in online sales by 2020, the country’s future is promising. However, in terms of m-commerce, the figures remain somewhat mixed because 72% of online sales are still from desktop, with only 15% on smartphone and 13% on tablet. In terms of purchasing behaviour, Americans prefer payment by Visa and Mastercard. If you decide to sell in the USA, it’s essential you offer these payment options in order to meet the expectations of consumers.
The United Kingdom
UK turnover reached 157 billion euros in 2015, putting the country in third place amongst global e-commerce markets. With a very high Internet penetration rate – 92% against 83% in France – the country represents a real opportunity for increasing sales. The UK is home to 43 million online shoppers and an annual average basket of around 3,000 euros. In terms of consumption, the British mostly prefer ready-to-wear. As for delivery costs, they really make a difference, and can be a big obstacle in the buying process if the costs are too high.
The country of the rising sun is in 4th position with a turnover of 96 billion euros and more than 109 million Internet users. Choose consistent prices and pay attention to the colours you choose for the design of your online store. This is a very sensitive subject and the Japanese consider it very important when making purchasing decisions.
With its turnover of 65 billion euros, in 2015, France overtook Germany for 5th position in the world e-commerce market. The e-commerce sector in France is constantly expanding: in the third quarter of 2016, sales increased by 12%. When launching your product catalogue, be sure to place great emphasis on the delivery as it is a very important part of the purchasing process. Moreover, 47% of online shoppers declare that they would rather abandon their purchase than pay a delivery charge or go to collect the package.
Between 2014 and 2015, German e-commerce sales grew by 13.3% to reach 59.7 billion euros. With 52 million online shoppers, cross-border e-commerce has become more popular. More than half of German online retailers sell abroad and more than 50% of online shoppers have already ordered from a foreign site. Also, be sure to check out buying behaviours. For example, it’s a good idea to offer a variety of returns methods because the rate of return in Germany is very high (41%, the highest in Europe).
The e-commerce market in South Korea is doing well, mainly thanks to Seoul, which alone accounts for more than 25 million inhabitants. Koreans are eager to buy online and 60% of the population prefers to order via mobile. Consumers therefore value the practical aspect first and foremost. Also, the country’s digital industry is very different from that of Europe or the United States. The most popular networks are Naver, Kakao, Daum and Tistory.
By 2015, Canada had 26.6 million Internet users, 59% of whom were online shoppers. In terms of purchasing, the latter (49%) enjoy ordering from foreign sites. The francophone part of the territory is a real advantage for French companies because it allows them to bypass the language barrier and to more simply identify the expectations and consumption habits of a large part of the population. According to the 2011 population census, nearly 10 million Canadians speak French.
The largest country in the world, Russia accounts for 85.8 million Internet users, including 30 million e-shoppers. In 2015, turnover reached 20.5 billion euros with an average annual basket per shopper of 685 euros. Russian consumers love buying online because it gives them the opportunity to buy products that are difficult to obtain locally. Regarding navigation habits, according to a Content Square study carried out in 2015, bounce rates are twice as high in Russia than France, Germany and the United States. The setting up of re-engagement tools in order to keep Internet users interested in their purchase is therefore a must.
The largest country in South America, Brazil is the top e-commerce market in Latin America. Brazilian Internet users mainly shop for fashion and accessories, with 18% of online shops in Brazil in the fashion sector. Developing your business in Brazil or offering it on local marketplaces/international sites available in Portuguese is a real added value that can undoubtedly enable you to boost your sales.