Approximately one trillion euro: this is the astronomical turnover record that will be achieved in 2014 in global B2C e-commerce according to eMarketer. This spectacular growth is almost completely thanks to rapidly developing emerging markets according to the specialist website.
2014 will be a crucial year for global e-commerce. For the first time, consumers in Asia will make more online purchases than their North-American counterparts. Asia even looks ready to steal the e-commerce crown from the US; eMarketer predicts that B2C e-commerce in Asia will generate a turnover of 385.10 billion euro in contrast with 353.86 billion in the US. In third place is Western Europe, with expected online sales of 274.60 billion euro in the B2C market.
China on the rise
China accounts for more than 60% of all e-commerce in Asia. By 2017 this figure is expected to grow to 75%. This makes China the second-most important country for e-commerce after the US. But that’s not where it ends. Forecasts indicate that China will overtake the US within the next three years. Add to this the unstoppable rise of India and Indonesia and it’s clear to see that e-commerce in Asia is booming.
Other growth markets
It’s not only Asia that’s showing remarkable success. Other growth markets are setting new records in global e-commerce. The main contenders are Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Italy.
But what is the driving force of these emerging markets? These are, almost without exception, countries where large numbers of the population are getting access to the internet, giving them the opportunity to shop online for the first time. This also explains why Western Europe and the US have reached more mature growth figures sooner. The internet has had a wide distribution in these markets for years, meaning that the growth potential of e-commerce has already peaked.
Only the tip of the iceberg
The current rise of Asia is only the tip of the iceberg. The figures speak for themselves. According to eMarketer, the Asian markets will account for more than 46% of online purchases in 2014. And this 46% is in turn accounted for by only 16.9% of the population! This shows there is still an enormous potential for growth as the internet reaches more of the Asian population in the coming years.
Western Europe remains a key player
Despite the mature market, there are still good prospects for Western Europe. This is thanks in particular to new innovations and trends such as the increasing use of smartphones and tablets for online purchases. In the UK, Netherlands and France, m-commerce accounts for more than 10% of all e-commerce.
Omni-channel becomes established
Another noteworthy development is the evolution towards omni-channel retailing in Western Europe. Retailers are aware that, for the modern consumer, the dividing line between online and offline has become blurred. And this observation is starting to pay off. It is also becoming apparent that consumers in smaller Western European countries are more likely to order from foreign countries. This is largely due to the lower prices and greater choice on offer.
Italy the outlier
The Southern European market for e-commerce is not yet as mature as the Western European market, which provides major opportunities in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy in particular. As eMarketer indicates, Italy is one of Europe’s outliers. The dominance of fashion is striking. Clothing is the most important product group for e-commerce in Italy, followed by books, tickets and telecommunications. In late 2012, e-commerce in Italy was worth 1.3% of the gross domestic product of 1,600 billion euro. The possibilities for growth are innumerable – of the 61.7 million Italians, only 63% use the internet. In other words, there is a lot of potential hiding in the boot of Europe.
Ready for international delivery?
E-commerce is inarguably on the rise. It is therefore vital that companies make arrangements for international delivery if they wish to profit from the many opportunities on offer. We will cover this topic in greater detail in a future article. For now, all you need remember is that it’s worth looking over the border, because the grass might actually be greener on the other side. Our team is standing by, ready to help you realize your international ambitions!