With global ecommerce sales are about to top $1.2 trillion eMarketer’s research forecasts Asia-Pacific to contribute the most new dollars over the next few upcoming years. This year alone, B2C sales are expected to grow by 23% in the region with sales in China and Indonesia growing particularly fast, up 65% and 71% respectively.
North America and Western Europe, markets where ecommerce is significantly more mature, are still growing their sales in the double digits—but below the worldwide average of 17% this year.
Sales in the Middle East and Africa will increase more quickly this year than in Asia-Pacific, but from a significantly smaller base. Asia-Pacific already accounts for nearly a third of all B2C ecommerce sales in the world, a share of the total just below North America’s. Next year, Asia-Pacific will lead all regions in share of the worldwide total spent online.
Other fast-growing regions include Latin America, where total spending will reach $45.98 billion this year, or 3.8% of the total, and Central and Eastern Europe, where digital buyers will spend $48.56 billion, or 4%.
Ecommerce sales growth will be supported by an estimated 1.03 billion digital buyers around the world this year, 44.4% of whom will be in Asia-Pacific. China alone will boast 269.4 million digital buyers this year—a figure that includes internet users ages 14 and older who make at least one purchase via any digital channel during the calendar year. The US remains the country with the second-largest number of digital buyers, at 155.7 million this year.
There is still significant room for growth, though, in developing markets where many internet users are still not buying online. Western Europe and North America are the only regions in the world where a majority of the online population is also a digital buyer. In Asia-Pacific, penetration will reach 44.6% of internet users this year, expected to climb to 54.2% by 2017. The same markets with relatively low penetration of digital buying among internet users tend also to have lower internet penetration overall; as more of the population comes online, this will help feed the growing ecommerce market.
Changes since eMarketer’s last forecast of B2C ecommerce sales and digital buyers include reduced growth expected in Australia and South Korea based on new data that indicates increases are slower than expected; and an increase in the number of digital buyers in Indonesia, also based on new information. Additionally, real spending on B2C ecommerce will be down in terms of dollars for both Argentina and Japan, two countries that have experienced significant currency volatility this year.
eMarketer forms its estimates of ecommerce spending and digital buyers based on the analysis of survey and traffic data from other research firms, historical consumer adoption trends and demographic adoption trends.