The potential for online retail growth
I’m currently updating my Ebusiness and Ecommerce Management book to the sixth edition for publication in 2014. It’s interesting to look back at the growth of online sales and think forward to how much further they can grow at the expense of traditional channels. Overall percentage of Ecommerce retail sales are perhaps, surprisingly small at around 5% of sales in the US and 10% in the UK, but with sustained growth. The data for Europe suggests growth rates of 10 to 20%, so for businesses forecasting their future growth rates, the growth target should match or exceed this.
Rather than including charts that date in the book, I will be linking through to pages like this one where readers can find the latest figures from the best sources. Unfortunately, the most valuable category-specific data isn’t available, but it’s interesting to look at the overall trends in major markets.
US Ecommerce sales
The US Government has been cataloguing the trend of percentage of ecommerce sales since the first edition of my book was published and you see there has been steady growth since. Although the overall percentage of sales is not as high as might be expected.
US E-commerce sales in 2012 accounted for 5.2 percent of total sales
UK Ecommerce sales growth
In the UK, similar historical government data isn’t available, but the IMRG has catalogued the growth in E-retail sales for an even longer period with the chart below showing the importance of the Christmas period well. The government does report Ecommerce sales in its monthly retail sales reports which shows a higher figure than the US with…
UK online percentage of retail sales of 10.4% of total retail sales
Ecommerce sales growth in Europe
Across Europe Forrester has compiled trends of annual online sales growth rates (CAGR) varying from 2012 to 2017 of between 9% at the low end, for the Netherlands, up to 18% and 16% for Spain and Italy respectively, the fastest growing European markets over the forecast period. So, as you would expect, the countries with the highest adoption such as the Netherlands and the UK (at 10%) have lower growth rates.
For other countries eMarketer has a compilation of Ecommerce current sales growth where they report that Ecommerce sales topped $1 Trillion for the first time in 2013.
They report that due to growth in Asia-Pacific region and China in particular:
In 2013 worldwide Ecommerce sales worldwide will grow 18.3% to $1.298 trillion