U.S e-commerce: A global comparison


lightwell_global_ecommerceE-commerce has become a major market in the U.S., particularly with the influx of retailers striving to enable omni-channel commerce. Although last year's e-commerce sales hit a high note for North America, the rise of global markets, including those in Asia and the U.K., are increasing global competition. 



Although last year's e-commerce sales hit a high note for America, the rise of global markets, including those in Asia and the U.K., are increasing global competition. 

U.S. e-commerce: Year-over-year comparison

According to a report from eMarketer released in April 2014, last year's e-commerce sales reached a significant benchmark in the U.S. Findings show that during 2013, e-commerce accounted for nearly 17 percent of total retail sales. Overall, retail revenues reached $4.53 trillion, with almost $40 billion coming from e-commerce purchases. This had a considerable effect on U.S. gross domestic product, with the growth of retail and e-commerce sales outpacing the expansion of the nation's GDP.

"While brick-and-mortar sales still command a vast majority of the retail market - nearly $4.27 trillion in 2013 - e-commerce sales are increasing much faster, contributing significantly to retail's overall growth throughout our forecast period," eMarketer stated.

What's more is that eMarketer predicted in April that e-commerce sales would increase by more than 15 percent this year, reaching $304.1 billion. The expansion of the U.S. e-commerce market would therefore contribute over 20 percent to 2014's overall retail sales.

Omni-channel contributes to U.S. e-commerce growth

A main factor driving the growth of the U.S. e-commerce market is the increasing investments in online and omni-channel sales on the part of retailers, according to Business Model Innovation Hub contributor Ally Jindal. Mobile devices will play a considerable role here, driving e-commerce sales to reach $638 billion by 2018.

"Currently, all the international retailers are building omni-channel retail experiences that would allow the store associates to 'save preferences' or 'save a sale' by ordering out-of-stock merchandise with the help of online backends and letting the consumers pick up the products from the store," Jindal wrote.

Competition from abroad: Chinese, Asian and U.K. e-commerce markets

Although the U.S. e-commerce market boasts some impressive revenues, there is considerable competition coming from other global markets as well. In fact, Jinal pointed out that a recent market research report showed that China's e-commerce sales are poised to outpace that of the U.S. Although American e-commerce sales are predicted to reach $370 by 2017, experts forecast that China's e-commerce market will see between $420 billion and $650 billion by 2020.

The U.K. e-commerce market is also expected to expand, largely due to the use of mobile devices, noted BloomReach​'s Mike Cassidy. Over the next few years, the U.K. will see a 16 percent rise in its e-commerce sales, over 25 percent of which will come from transactions taking place on mobile devices.

"Great Britain's next great e-commerce run-up will be powered in large part by purchases on mobile devices, a trend that U.S. merchants can look at with envy or with hopes of learning a thing or two," Cassidy wrote.

At the same time, however, experts are predicting that the Asian e-commerce market will become the biggest in the world. Economic Times reported that Economist Intelligence Unit research shows Asia's e-commerce sector will reach $7.6 trillion in 2015, growing by 4.6 percent on average on a volume basis. The North American market is predicted to only grow by 2.5 percent next year, and Europe will see a 0.8 increase.

Overall, these findings show that e-commerce is seeing rising demands, not just in the U.S., but on a global scale. In order to keep up with these consumer needs, retailers will need to harness the best omni-channel and e-commerce solutions.

Ready to plan your omnichannel strategy? Learn more with Lightwell's complimentary guide and follow the conversation on Twitter using #Omnichannel: 

More omnichannel blog articles: