Who Tops The Big 15 Ecommerce Markets in 2017 – China or US?

Written by Polona Golob

February 19, 2017

2017 is in full swing and so is ecommerce business. Based on research from emarketer.com forecasting  ecommerce sales by country up till 2019, we’ve prepared an overview of the top 15 ecommerce markets in 2017. This way you can still properly re-valuate your annual marketing strategy and focus on the best ecommerce platforms. In 2016 global ecommerce website sales reached more than $22 trillion. This is a 6% yearly increase with sales estimating to reach $27 trillion in 2020.

Top 15 Ecommerce Markets of 2017

We evaluated the retails sales share of the top ecommerce markets based on data from emarketer.com. The research was published in 2016. By evaluating global sales of ecommerce sites from 2014-2016, experts estimated the global ecommerce growth rate and market behavior for 2017-2019. To backup our findings we also made a comparison between total sales in 2016 and the estimated sales in 2017 generated by ecommerce companies from each country.

Source: GFluence; based on research data from emarketer.com
  • US ecommerce and China’s online business each take one fifth of the world’s digital sales share – 20.4% and 20.2% respectively.
  • Coming 3rd is Japan with a 5.4% share – only a quarter of the online markets in China and US. Considering Japan’s slow annual growth rate, India will take 3rd place in a few years time.
  • Western European countries: Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain persist among the top 15 ecommerce markets, still producing on of the world’s top ecommerce sites. But their future status is questionable. Total online retail sales between 2016 and 2017 in Spain and Italy are expected to fall from $358.55 to $321.62 billion and from $615.50 to $464.36 billion respectively.
  • Russia is expected to increase sales for an impressive $14.04 billion. This would mean an advance from 7th to 6th place, overtaking France.

Future Changes in Ecommerce – Retailers Watch Out

It’s true that since 2014 the list of the top ecommerce countries keeps showing the same names. But, what is important to point out are the yearly changes in sales figures. These fluctuations are important, because they indicate changes in the world digital market sales. Here is what online retailers should should keep in mind for the future:

1. India is coming! OK, it’s already here…

India boosted its sales from $818.33 billion in 2015 to $941.08 billion in 2016 and took 4th place from Germany. It’s ecommerce growth rate is also the highest in the world – 15% in 2016, as a result of heavy investment in top ecommerce website development. The growth is continued to remain at this rate also in 2017 and 2018.

Though slowly, but consistently the country is improving in education and breaking out of traditional patterns. Female Indian consumers deserve special attention. More and more women  attain a higher education and decide to have a career instead of staying home. This creates an entire new pool of female consumers and their demands can easily be compared to their colleagues in the West.

2. Who’s running this show, China or US?

Sources differ in whether China is the world’s leading online retail market or is it the US. But it definitely looks like the rivalry will not settle down. Looking in the long term future our choice is definitely the ecommerce in China. It is estimated that in 2019 online business sales in China will represent 33,9% of all the retails sales in the country. While in the US it will only be 19,3%.

3. Decline in Europe’s Total Share and the Rise of Latin America

Ecommerce is in high rise in South American markets in countries like Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Latin American countries are steadily beating Europe ecommerce market by taking away the market share. A big factor is also the ongoing penetration of internet and smartphone users in South American. With more and more people using  internet on their desktop or mobile phone, online sales continue to flourish in the region.

Brazil deserves special focus as it leads in retails sales and digital buyer growth in the region. The Brazil ecommerce market size represents 60% of Latin America ecommerce. But watch-out, many global brands have entered the market and failed terribly. If you’re thinking of entering the Brazilian market, make sure you’ve mastered the cultural specifics of business etiquette and consumer habits.

4. The Pacific Tigers Are Coming

Did you know that the Asian-Pacific region is experiencing an economic revolution due to better English proficiency rates? Multinational companies have been moving huge sections of their departments such as human resources and accounting to shared service centers in Malaysia and the Philippines.

As people are getting more educated, the digital proficiency rises as well. Some global retailers access the market by only publishing an English language website. The Asia-Pacific region comes 2nd by ecommerce retail sales growth at 7.5% in 2017. And Indonesia tops as the country with the highest digital buyer increase with 31.3%.

Are you an online retailer wishing to expand to outside markets, but not sure which ones to target? Ask us! By implementing the right combination of SEO services, we’ll tell you which are the markets worth investing in for your business.

Featured image source: Pixabay.com

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