A recent report by yStats predicts that global online retail sales are expected to reach $1.3 trillion this year. Most markets will experience growth, but the rate of growth will be higher in emerging markets than in established ones.
Globally, the rate of online sales growth will reach 20 percent this year; that number will drop in 2018 to 10 percent. At first glance these numbers look bad, but remember it’s the rate of the increase that’s slowing down. Overall sales are still growing.
Emerging markets have the best opportunity for growth. Areas like China, Russia, Mexico, India and Indonesia are not as established as other markets, so the opportunity for growth is stronger. More people have access to the Internet and are using mobile devices for the first time in these areas.
Forrester analyst Zia Daniell Wigder examined the Asian Pacific market, where most of the population of the emerging markets mentioned earlier comes from. She found that online-only retailers are more prominent in Asia and that the brick-and-mortar stores there do not have as strong an online presence as they do in the U.S., U.K or Latin America and are working on developing an omnichannel approach to serving customers.
In other markets there is less opportunity for growth. The U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and South Korea have been online and using mobile devices the longest, so the market is more established. Online grocery shopping is one segment that could provide some growth, according to yStats.
The report by yStats paints a picture of two worlds, one that is well-established and won’t grow as fast and another that is the opposite. One important difference between the two worlds is that the less established markets have a much greater population than the established. China and India alone have close to one-third of the world’s population.
Online sales growth in China is moving fast already. The world’s most populated country passed the U.S. in online sales last May and has four times as many people. As the emerging markets shift to more online sales, the sales growth rate will eventually slow down as it’s starting to in established markets.