Last Updated: March 18, 2021
Let’s talk about online shopping. There are very few things that can be better than quick price comparisons, and queue-free shopping from the comfort of your home. Plus, the internet is one big shopping mall where you can buy almost anything you can think of.
We have to admit that in the past, the range of products on offer was somewhat richer. In 2007, you could do as much as sell your soul which is exactly what Pablo Penalver did. According to e-commerce statistics, Pablo priced his soul at $47.51, and what’s even stranger is someone actually bought it.
Today, we don’t have as much shopping liberty, and selling souls is off limits. However, there are still plenty of unusual items you can buy online including grass flip flops, the NoPhone, and a full-body suit, among other peculiar items.
Fascinating E-Commerce Statistics
- E-commerce is expected to become a $4 trillion industry in 2020
- There will be 2.05 billion online shoppers in 2020
- There are 9.6 million websites that use e-commerce technologies
- M-commerce should generate approximately $3.56 billion in 2021
- Annual online sales in the United States amount to $340 billion
- UK digital shoppers are the biggest spenders
- 92.2% of consumers prefer to shop in their own currency
- Amazon sells 5 billion items a year
Now that we went through some fun facts from the e-commerce world let’s move to the heavier industry facts and numbers. First stop, the number of digital shoppers worldwide.
1. Nearly 25% of the world’s population shops online.
In 2019, there were 7.7 billion people in the world. The e-commerce stats from Statista show that this year there were 1.92 billion digital shoppers, which is roughly one-quarter of the world’s global population. The same source highlights the growth of online shoppers from 2014 to 2021.
So, in 2014, the number of digital shoppers stood at 1.32 billion, and it increased to 1.46 billion in 2015. In 2016, the number of online shoppers passed the 1.5 billion-mark (1.52 billion), while in 2017 there were 1.66 billion global digital shoppers. Last year that number jumped to 1.79 billion.
Moreover, the global e-commerce market is expected to have 2.05 billion online shoppers in 2020, and, according to forecasts from EMarketer, the industry should see a further increase of digital buyers in 2021, counting 2.14 billion of them.
If we analyze online shopping statistics by year, we can see the online shopping population increased by 7% between 2014 and 2019, and we expect these figures to grow steadily in the future.
2. There are 9.6 million websites that use e-commerce technologies.
(Source: Built With)
In 2017, PipeCandy wanted to establish how many companies from the e-commerce industry were there in the world. The results of their research showed that two years ago, there were between 2 and 3 million e-commerce companies in the world, excluding China. Moreover, the source outlined that the USA and Canada alone are home to approximately 1.3 million e-commerce companies.
Still, the PipeCandy research brought us slightly outdated statistics. As we’ve previously established, the digital buyer population is gradually expanding, and numerous studies show that the same is happening with e-commerce companies. So, how many e-commerce companies are there now? The Built With tool counts 9.6 million websites that use different e-commerce technologies.
The source includes both the number of live e-commerce sites and the number of sites that used such technologies in the past. For example, the Built With tool recorded around 2.1 million BigCommerce websites with a checkout page. Out of those 2.1 million sites, around 650 000 sites are live, but close to 265 000 sites are redirects. So, the number of live BigCommerce sites, excluding redirects, stands at 388,233. Note that the total number of e-commerce sites (9.6 million) includes live sites only.
3. There are around 3.8 million e-commerce sites in the USA.
(Source: Built With)
According to US e-commerce statistics from Built With, there are more than 3.8 million such sites in the US, while the country’s top three e-commerce technologies are Shopify, Squarespace Commerce, and WooCommerce Checkout. The United Kingdom ranks second with 309,174 such sites, but countries like France (147,595 sites), Germany (184,785 sites), and Russia (164,892 sites) don’t fall behind either.
4. China is the largest e-commerce market in the world.
(Source: Oberlo, Business)
China has one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets, and in 2019, the country generated $1.9 trillion from online sales. Right behind China is the United States with annual online sales amounting to $587 billion, while this sector in the United Kingdom generates $142 billion.
All in all, e-commerce is expected to become a $4 trillion industry in 2020.
5. 83% of China’s digital shoppers made an online purchase in the past month.
(Source: Global Web Index)
In 2017, Global Web Index surveyed more than 72,000 internet users to determine who the world’s most avid online shoppers are. The survey results showed that the highest percentage of digital shoppers who made a purchase in the previous month come from China (83%) and South Korea (83%).
The percentage of UK’s online shoppers was slightly lower at 82%, while US online shopping population ranked outside the top 5, with 77% of digital buyers making an online purchase during the previous month.
6. In 2019, 14.1% of sales were online
According to the latest statistics from Statista, online shopping accounted for 13.7% of all retail sales in 2018. Looking at the e-retail sales over the years, we can see the continuous growth in this industry.
Namely, in 2015, online sales accounted for 7.4% of all sales. That number increased to 8.6% in 2016 only to reach a double-digit in 2017, i.e., 10.2%.
The source also predicts that global e-commerce sales will have an even bigger share of all sales in 2020 at 15.5%, while climbing to an even more impressive share in 2021 (17.5%). In 2023, based on the forecast, online shopping should reach a new high, accounting for 22% of all retail sales.
This data is focused on total and e-commerce sales worldwide, but these numbers vary from country to country. If we take a look at China’s online shopping statistics, 2018 saw e-retail sales accounting for 28.6% of the country’s total retail sales.
Furthermore, eMarketer expects online shopping in China to make up a third of all sales (33.6%) this year. On the other hand, online retail sales in the US are significantly lower. Based on the data from the US Department of Commerce, US e-commerce sales account for 9.8% of all sales.
7. 51% of UK consumers prefer shopping online.
(Source: Ecommerce News)
In 2018, Empathy Broker published a study that revealed that more than half of UK digital shoppers like shopping online as opposed to going to brick-and-mortar stores.
According to e-commerce stats from this study, UK’s digital shoppers also said their online shopping activity has increased compared to previoius years. What’s even more interesting is that 43% of consumers are more likely to make an unplanned purchase online rather than in-store.
8. UK digital shoppers are the biggest spenders.
(Source: Website Builder Expert)
The study from Website Builder Expert has shown that Britons spend the highest amount of money online per capita, i.e., $4,201. US digital shoppers are ranked second with an average spending per capita at $3,428. Despite being one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets, China takes fifth place on this list. Online shopping statistics show that Chinese digital buyers spend $1,855 each.
What’s surprising though is that even though China’s online shoppers may not be the biggest online spenders, they spend nearly one-fifth of their salary online. In contrast, UK’s shoppers spend half that amount, or more precisely 11.14% of their salaries online, while US online shoppers spend 7.63% of their monthly income on e-retail.
9. 42% of consumers prefer credit cards as their payment method.
There are around 190 million Americans who own at least one credit card. In 2018, there were 764 million Visa credit cards alone in the world. Due to the widespread use of credit cards, it’s no wonder that, based on the e-commerce facts from Statista, credit cards are the favorite payment method among online shoppers worldwide. As much as 42% of consumers (out of 18, 551 study participants) rely on credit card payments when shopping online.
Electronic payments are the second best option for digital shoppers, and PayPal ranks as the most popular in this category. The online payments system currently has 267 million users. The source points out that 39% of consumers prefer to pay via electronic payments, and that they’re most likely to opt for PayPal if the service is available on e-commerce sites.
Apart from credit cards and electronic payments, e-commerce stats reveal that digital shoppers use debit cards for online purchases. 28% of respondents said their preferred payment option for e-commerce transactions is a debit card. Mobile payments (14%) and gift cards and vouchers (15%) rank near the bottom of the list, while cryptocurrency payments are the least popular shopping method with only 3% of consumers opting for this payment method.
10. 92.2% of consumers prefer to shop in their own currency.
Based on the preferences of global shoppers, the option of making an online purchase in shoppers’ own currency is vital. As Shopify reported, out of 30,000 consumers, only a small portion of digital shoppers feel indifferent about the currency products are priced in.
On the other hand, 92.2% of consumers strongly agree that e-commerce sites should display products in their own local currency. Moreover, 33% of study participants said they would leave a website if it lists USD-prices only.
11. In-store purchases increased from 40% to 44% between 2015 and 2018.
Now, let’s take a look at online shopping vs in store shopping statistics. As we’ve already established, e-retail sales account for 13.7% of all retail sales. With the ever-increasing number of online shoppers, the question is how e-commerce growth reflects on in-store shoppers. According to research from PwC, the number of people visiting and buying from brick-and-mortar stores is, against all odds, increasing steadily.
According to a PwC study with close to 22,500 participants, in 2014, 34% of shoppers went to brick-and-mortar stores on a weekly basis. However, despite the tremendous growth of e-commerce, traditional shopping is still a fun social experience for 44% of study participants.
If we put traditional retail shopping statistics aside, PwC’s 2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey highlighted one of the uprising trends in e-retail. Namely, based on the data from PwC, the percentage of online shoppers that purchase via PC has seen a significant drop – from 27% in 2013 to 20% in 2018.
Mobile commerce, on the other hand, has seen a ten-percent increase in the same period, and it is one of the e-retail trends we see changing consumers’ habits and the entire e-commerce market in general.
12. 63.5% of all e-commerce sales come from mobile.
(Source: Build Fire)
According to m-commerce statistics from Build Fire, in 2018, nearly two-thirds of all e-commerce sales came from mobile devices. In 2019, mobile commerce had an even larger share of online sales at 67.2%, and, according to eMarketer’s predictions, m-commerce should generate approximately $2.3 trillion in 2019. When it comes to further growth, we can expect purchases from mobile devices to account for 72.9% of all e-commerce sales in 2021. Additionally, m-commerce sales should also generate $3.56 trillion in two years from now.
13. What percentage of e-commerce is mobile in the US? 44.7%.
The number of online shoppers shifting from desktop to mobile is on the rise, and so is the trend of shopping on-the-go. A Criteo study showed that smartphone e-commerce sales increased by 22.5% from 2017 to 2018, while desktop sales fell by 7% in the same period.
The data from Statista shows that mobile commerce had a market share of 34.5% in 2017, and 2018, it hit a new high at 39.6%. In 2019, Statista predicted mobile commerce to account for 44.7% of retail e-commerce sales in the US, as well as a further growth to 53.9% by 2021. The source also outlined that the most popular app in the m-commerce world is the Amazon app. Now, what do the numbers about Amazon tell us?
14. In 2020, Amazon’s share of US e-commerce retail market will be 47%.
In 2017, Amazon’s market share of the US e-commerce industry stood at 37%. Last year, the tech giant increased its share of the US e-retail industry to 45%. According to numerous e-commerce statistics, 2021 will also be an excellent year for Amazon, as the company is predicted to reach 50% of the US retail market.
15. During the 2019 Prime Day, Amazon shoppers spent almost $7.2 billion.
In 2018, Prime Day event recorded 100 million sales in 36 hours. Amazon broke its own record, selling five million items from numerous categories including toys, apparel, and beauty products.
Comparing Prime Day sales through the years, the event generated $0.9 billion in 2015, and the following year, this number rose to $1.5 billion. In 2018, the Prime Day event generated almost three times as much revenue compared to 2016, i.e., $4.2 billion.
When it comes to e-commerce growth projections related to Amazon, very few could’ve predicted that the company that started turning in profit eight years after its initial launch would reach 1 trillion in value.
16. Amazon sells 5 billion items a year. Alibaba three times as much.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
Amazon undeniably has a massive impact on the online shopping world, shipping three million items a day. However, Alibaba, the world’s fifth largest company by revenue, is a fierce competitor. China’s online shopping company ships four times more items than Amazon on a daily basis, i.e., 12 million.
When it comes to sales, Alibaba wins this round as well thanks to the fact that it sells 14.5 billion items a year compared to Amazon’s 5 billion.
We, however, shouldn’t exclude the population of China and the US from these e-commerce statistics. Namely, the US population is currently at 328 million people, while China’s population has already reached 1.4 billion people.
Now, if we look at Amazon’s share of US e-commerce sales (49%), it’s more or less proportionate to Alibaba’s share of China’s global e-commerce sales (58.2%). Which company will better monetize this market, only time will tell.
17. The most active digital buyers fall into the 39-53 age group.
KPMG surveyed 18,430 consumers to examine the demographics of online shoppers, and answer the question: what age group shops the most? The survey results showed that Generation X consumers are the most active shoppers.
These results are somewhat surprising owing to the fact that the Millennials are more familiar with today’s technology. However, as the source explained, the great majority of Generation X shoppers have higher/more stable income levels than the Millennials, which reflects on their shopping activity.
Another interesting stat from the KPMG study is that Baby Boomers (57-74) spend the highest amount of money on online shopping, even though they are not the most active shoppers. On average, Baby Boomers spend $203 per transaction, while Generation X and Millennials spend $190 and $173 respectively.
A further look at the demographics of online shoppers also revealed that men shop as much as women, but men spend more money per transaction, $220 compared to $151.
18. Collecting information and looking for deals are the top two online shopping activities.
Gathering the information about a product is the primary shopping activity according to a 2016 Nielsen study. Looking for deals and promotions is another common activity among online shoppers, and so is price comparison.
One of the study examples focused on consumers who shopped from the consumer electronics category. The source pointed out that 60% of consumers who browsed this category gathered info about the products they were interested in buying, while 52% of them compared prices.
Lastly, only one-third of study participants (34%) focused on finding promotions and deals from this category.
19. Digital shoppers trust product ratings with 4.5 stars more than products with 5-star ratings.
(Source: Spiegel Research Center)
Product reviews are vital for online businesses, but according to Spiegel Research Center, a 5-star rating is not ideal. Namely, various e-commerce stats prove that digital shoppers are more likely to rely on a product rating with fewer than five stars with the following logic: if a product has a 5-star rating, not many people reviewed it.
Moreover, the chances that not a single customer has a single remark about a product are very thin – especially when a product has numerous reviews.
Another interesting piece of information we gathered is that products with a 3-star rating have a lot less orders (10 times less) than products with 4-star ratings. The conclusion is that the products that are within a 4-star rating, but below the perfect 5-star rating receive the highest number of orders.
20. Monday is the best day for online shopping.
(Source: Adobe’s Digital Dollar)
Based on Adobe’s global e-commerce statistics, 2018 saw the highest revenues from online shopping on Mondays. In their last year’s study, Digital Dollar, Adobe shared the average revenue for each day of the week. Online shopping on Monday generated $1.36 billion, while Tuesday and Wednesday had slightly lower revenues, $1.27 billion and $1.29 billion respectively. Thursdays typically generate $1.26 billion. Friday sales have average revenue of $1.19 billion, whereas Saturdays generate the lowest revenues at $1.10 billion, only to increase to $1.22 billion on Sundays before the Monday shopping fever starts again.
21. 78% of US consumers found a product they were interested in on Facebook.
A Curalate Consumer Survey gave us valuable insights into social media e-commerce statistics. Here’s what the survey of 1,000 respondents revealed about the connection between social media and e-commerce.
Facebook is the number one source for finding products online. 78% of consumers 18-34 said that they’d discovered a product they were interested in on Facebook, compared to 59% of those who found these products on Pinterest.
Instagram had the same percentage of consumers (59%) who discovered products they liked. When it comes to Twitter and Snapchat, these numbers were significantly lower at 34% and 22% of consumers respectively.
However, one of the e-commerce statistics we’ve stumbled upon in this survey says that 65% of consumers said the link in a social media post led them to a product they were not interested in. So, despite the fact that social media channels are vital for e-commerce growth, businesses should target their audience with greater accuracy.
22. Shopify processed $1.5 billion in total sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Being one of the favorite e-commerce platforms worldwide, Shopify is currently home to more than 600,000 businesses including some of the soundest names from different industries such as Tesla Motors, the Economist, etc. When it comes to Shopify statistics, in 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday proved how powerful this e-commerce platform can be. During the four-day holiday season, the company processed nearly 11,000 orders per minute and generated $37 million in sales per hour. At the end of the holiday season, Shopify came out having sold $1.5 billion in goods and services.
23. In 2018, an online shopper spent $378 on average.
Before we jump to e-commerce growth statistics, let’s take a glance at the average spending of online shoppers throughout the years. In 2016, digital shoppers’ budget for online purchases stood at $297 per person.
The following year, that sum grew to $324, while in 2018 an online shopper spent $378 on average. The conclusion we can draw from these figures is digital buyers are spending more money online, and we only expect these numbers to rise in the future.
Now, let’s take a look at the big picture, and see the value of the e-commerce industry in 2020.
24. Global e-commerce reached $3.53 trillion in 2019.
The global e-retail sales reached $1 trillion in 2012 for the first time. According to the data from Statista, this number is almost 3.5 times higher this year. The e-commerce industry broke the $2 trillion mark in 2017 ($2.3 trillion.) As for 2018 – it likely won’t surprise you to learn online sales grew by another 24.8%.
The source also outlined global e-commerce growth trends that show this growth will gradually slow down. Namely, last year, global e-retail sales grew by 23.3% to $2.8 trillion. This year, however, online sales revenues should reach $3.4 trillion increasing by 21.5% from 2018.
In 2020, e-commerce revenue growth should fall below 20% (19.8%), and generate $4.1 trillion, whereas in 2021 the revenues from this industry should jump to $4.8 trillion due to an 18% revenue increase.
So, what does the future hold for e-commerce? EMarketer forecasts that brick-and-mortar will have an 82.5% share of all retail sales, while the remaining 17.5% will go to the e-commerce market.
Additionally, only a few online giants are responsible for its outstanding growth, while numerous e-commerce statistics show that two-thirds of small businesses don’t even have an website where their clients can shop.
Still, with around 10 million e-commerce websites and nearly 2 billion websites out there, the industry has a lot of room for growth.
It might never surpass traditional retail, but it will without a doubt continue to grow, turning in-store shopping enthusiasts to digital shoppers along the way.