That’s according to market research firm eMarketer, which projects consumers worldwide will spend $1.672 trillion online this year. That figure represents 7.3% of overall global retail sales, which are expected to be $22.822 trillion this year. By 2019, eMarketer Inc. projects online purchases will more than double to $3.551 trillion, or 12.4% of total retail sales of $28.550 trillion, as more people come online around the world.
The Asia-Pacific region is growing faster than any other at a rate of 35.2% year over year, with eMarketer projecting $875 billion in online sales there in 2015.
Researchers say much of that growth will come from consumers in rural areas making online purchases from mobile phones. The region will gain about 80 million new online shoppers this year, eMarketer predicts.
“Especially in rural regions where you might have less availability of local markets, opportunities to get goods that may be easier to get online, that’s really starting to grow the market,” says Monica Peart, forecasting director for eMarketer. “Rural populations are picking up in terms of using mobile devices. That is what seems to be spurring a lot of the retail e-commerce growth.”
EMarketer projects North American e-commerce sales of $375.89 billion this year, up 14.3% from $328.6 billion last year. E-commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to account for 92.9% of that total, or $349.06 billion. That would represent growth of just over 14% from last year’s U.S. e-retail sales of about $305 billion, reported by the U.S. Commerce Department. The eMarketer report says U.S. e-retail sales will nearly double to just over half a trillion dollars ($548.22 billion) by 2019.
Peart says the biggest trend she’s noticed in analyzing the U.S. market is consumers’ willingness to spend big online. “Frequency of purchases and higher-value transactions are really growing online,” she says. “As a more mature market, we’re seeing sales continue to grow because of that. People are more willing to buy big-ticket items online.”
Also helping fuel growth here at home: the recent race to the bottom when it comes to prices between Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3), a trend likely to accelerate with the recent launch of new online marketplace Jet.com, which promises to offer the lowest prices online.
“It’s definitely a win for consumers,” Peart says. “Each year during the holiday season, we see consumers pushing more and more of their shopping towards online from traditional retail. It’s forcing traditional retailers and online retailers to offer discounts early and throughout the year. It’s something that we really see moving the needle in terms of e-commerce.”
Here are the top 10 e-commerce countries based on projected web sales along with their year-over-year growth:
- China: $672.01 billion (42.1%)
- U.S.: $349.06 billion (14.2%)
- U.K.: $99.39 billion (14.5%)
- Japan: $89.55 billion (14.0%)
- Germany: $61.84 billion (12.0%)
- France: $42.60 billion (11.1%)
- South Korea: $38.86 billion (11.0%)
- Canada: $26.83 billion (16.8%)
- Brazil: $19.79 billion (17.3%)
- Australia: $19.02 billion (9.3%)