Worldwide retail e-commerce sales grew 20 percent last year to nearly $2.3 trillion, according to a new report from the Ecommerce Foundation and Ecommerce Europe. The Asia-Pacific region, led by the largest e-commerce market in the world (China), contributed more than $1 trillion of that total and also tied with Latin America for the fastest e-commerce growth rate (28 percent) among the five major regions. Online sales in North America and Europe both grew at a 13 percent clip from 2014 to 2015, totaling $644 billion and $505 billion respectively. Ecommerce Europe expects growth to marginally decelerate next year (as it has each year from a high of 29 percent in 2013), adding nearly 18 percent to reach $2.7 trillion in global e-commerce. The top three individual markets—China ($767 billion), the U.S. ($595 billion) and the U.K. ($175 billion)—accounted for nearly 70 percent of global B2C e-commerce turnover in 2015.
As China and the Asia-Pacific region continue to bolster their e-commerce lead, the Global B2C E-commerce Report 2016 suggests those countries have only begun to pull away from the rest of the world.
“What is interesting to note here is the fact that even though Asia-Pacific is outperforming other key regions, its Internet penetration rate is significantly lower,” said Richard van Welie, chief editor at the Ecommerce Foundation. “Whereas around 75 percent of the people in North America and Europe are connected to the World Wide Web, this rate is only 39 percent in Asia-Pacific. This is even below the global average of 45 percent. Interestingly enough, China (51 percent) and India (27 percent), whose e-commerce turnovers are growing very fast, also have rather low Internet penetration rates. Just imagine how much their online sales will grow when more people gain access to the Internet there.”