Global E-commerce Sales to Approach US$2 Trillion in 2016

By Julian Thumm | 24 Aug 2016

Global e-commerce sales will approach US$2 trillion in 2016, driven by growth in Asia-Pacific, as China overtakes the US as the world’s largest retail market.

Global retail e-commerce sales are set to reach US$1.915 trillion this year, according to a new report from eMarketer, representing 8.7 percent of total retail spending worldwide.

eMarketer’s estimates include sales from C2C platforms such as eBay and other auction sites and sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, and service stations. Travel, event ticket and restaurant sales are excluded from its assessment of retail sales.

Retail e-commerce sales continue to grow strongly, significantly outpacing traditional retail sales. According to the report, digital sales are forecast to grow by 23.7 percent for 2016.

eMarketer expects digital retail sales to increase to US$4.058 trillion by 2020, accounting for 14.6 percent of total retail spending.

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Total global retail sales are estimated to hit US$22.049 trillion in 2016, up 6.0 percent on the previous year. eMarketer estimates that sales will crack the US$27 trillion mark by 2020.

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According to the report, Asia-Pacific will remain the world’s largest e-commerce market, topping the US$1 trillion mark in 2016 on growth of 31.5 percent, and reaching an estimated US$2.725 trillion by 2020.

The bulk of this sales volume and growth will come from China. China is already the world’s largest e-commerce market, with digital sales expected to top US$899.09 billion in 2016, representing almost half (47 percent) of global digital sales.

Across China, digital sales account for a world-leading 18.4 percent of the country’s total retail sales.

This year, China it also set to overtake the US as the world’s largest retail market by total sales in 2016. China is set to reach total retail sales of US$4.886 trillion in 2016, compared with total retail sales in the US of US$4.823 trillion, according to eMarketer estimates.

E-commerce in the US is forecast to grow by 15.6 percent in 2016 to reach US$423.34 billion, making it the world’s second-largest e-commerce market.

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