In 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. This figure is forecast to grow by 50 percent over the next four years, reaching about 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025.
Conditions across the globe continue to nourish the thriving e-commerce market. Technological developments, a burgeoning middle class in developing countries, and improved infrastructure and internet connectivity are just some of the factors which serve to provide a very stable foundation for the sector.
Meanwhile, the impact of social media and digital advertising are changing the rules of the game. Plus, consumers are driving demand for sustainability, inclusivity, and ethical practice. For e-commerce businesses that can act swiftly, engage audiences through digital channels, and leverage tech to drive efficiency, the future looks very bright indeed.
These are all trends that has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic that closed brick-and-mortar stores worldwide and saw millions shopping online for the first time. These newbies are now digital converts, convinced by the convenience that online shopping provides.
As in 2020, Asia-Pacific and North America will lead the regional rankings for retail e-commerce sales this year. China’s outsize role will mean that Asia-Pacific will account for 60.8% of retail e-commerce sales worldwide in 2021. North America will claim a 20.3% share, and Western Europe 12.6%. (Insider Intelligence). The e-commerce market in South-East Asia is growing at a significant rate. In particular, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam where demand for both e-commerce and m-commerce is on a huge growth trajectory and poised to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.
What does this growth mean for your e-commerce business?
This will depend on the sector that you’re in, but the opportunity to benefit form cross-border shopping is great for most stores.
However, you will need the capability to localise your website for each international market. This includes language, currency, payments, affordable and familiar delivery options and convenient returns. Plus the sales channels and promotional platforms in Asia in particular are not the same as in the western world.
Getting the delivery offering right can provide a quick win, as there will likely be many people abroad that speak your native language, are happy to pay by card, and accept they’ll need to cover duties and taxes. However to maximise the opportunity you will need to invest in technology, marketplaces and promotion.
Find out more in The e-commerce Market Handbook 2022.