The year 2012 has proven to be record-breaking for online merchants as ecommerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time, up 21% from 2011. Digital marketing research firm eMarketer projects that the growth will keep at a steady pace, forecasting an 18.3% rise to $1.298 trillion worldwide this year. Greater convenience, better prices, wider selections, and easy access to product information are regarded as the primary reasons why ecommerce sites are increasingly becoming the popular choice for the average consumer.
North America registered the largest share in ecommerce sales, growing 13.9% to $364.66 billion but Asia-Pacific is poised to surge ahead to become the world’s No. 1 market in B2C sales. For 2012, Asia Pacific’s share of global shares grew over 33% to $332.46 billion – over one-third of the total B2C ecommerce sales worldwide.
The U.S. will see a 12% growth in ecommerce sales of up to $384.80 billion in online sales this year – a bit slower than the 13.8% growth to $343.43 billion last year. eMarketer analysts forecast that the country’s share of global sales will drop to 31.5% this year from 33.5% last year
China is the main mover behind this Asia-Pacific ecommerce boom, and the country is expected to take Japan’s place as the world’s second-largest B2C ecommerce market this year. The United States will continue to lead B2C ecommerce spending, with a projected 29.6% growth for 2013, although China will surely be a force to be reckoned with. By 2016, eMarketer estimated that China will generate 22.6% of the global market sales while the U.S. will represent 26.5% of sales.
The rapid growth in Asia-Pacific is attributed to a variety of factors including strong B2C sales performances from China, India, and Indonesia. China registered the highest number of people buying merchandise online, reaching up to 220 million online shoppers in 2012. This is viewed as a result of increasing internet penetration, growing trust in online shopping, and government initiatives promoting consumerism. In addition, infrastructures are being improved and online sellers offer a large selection of products and services.
eMarketer collects, reviews, analyzes, and collates digital marketing data from various sources for the benefit of marketers, advertisers, and business owners who wish to gain insights that would effectively aid their online marketing campaigns. The company provides comprehensive reports on online marketing, media, and ecommerce free or charge to corporate subscribers.
In evaluating global ecommerce sales, eMarketer applies a very specific and intricate methodology that involves analyzing several elements related to ecommerce sales and more than 1,100 data sets from over 130 research sources. Figures are tracked and evaluated by designated analysts based on methodology, definitions, and historical accuracy more than once every year.