E-commerce share of total retail trade in the US is expected to grow to 12.7% this year, up from 11.6% last year and 10.6% a year earlier, according to a recent study [pdf] from RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research. Among the 10 countries included in the analysis – covering Europe, the US and Canada – the US ranks near the top on this measure, behind only the UK.
Indeed, online’s share of total retail trade in the UK is predicted to reach 15.2% this year, up from 13.5% last year and 12.1% the year prior. That’s almost double theÂ average market share acrossÂ the European countries measured, predicted to beÂ 8.4% this year, up from 7.2% last year. By comparison, online retail appears to be a lesser force in Canada, where it should account for just 4.8% of total retail sales this year.
(“Retail sales” is defined in the report as “the sale of merchandise to the final consumer. It excludes the sale of food services, tickets, travel, automobiles, rentals, car parts, fuel, hospitality services such as restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, and as far as possible sales tax or VAT.”)
The UK and US are also among the countries with the largest share of online shoppers relative to their populations. In the UK, almost two-thirds (65.5%) of the population shops online, per the report, while in the US that figure is 57.4%. While this is obviously a factor in e-commerce share of total retail trade, it doesn’t correlate very strongly. For example, roughly half of both the German and Canadian populations shop online, but e-commerce share of retail sales in Germany is expected to be more than double Canada’s share (11.6% and 4.8%, respectively) this year. It’s likely that the discrepancy is due to average e-commerce sales per online shopper: Germany ranks high among European countries on this measure, second only to the UK ($1,443 and $1,736 per online shopper, respectively.) Comparable figures are not provided for the US and Canada in the study, although its press release mentions that average order values are highest in the US ($115 per purchase online).
As for mobile shopping, the UK is expected to take the lead in this category this year, with mobile accounting for 28.6% of all retail e-commerce (16.5% smartphone; 12.1% tablet). Germany will be next (27.7% share), followed by the US (26.8% share). Last year, the UK and the US tied for the lead in this measure, with mobile comprising an estimated 18.7% share of retail e-commerce in each country.
US Leads E-Commerce Opportunity Index
While the US may rank behind the UK in e-commerce share of total retail sales, it now leads all countries in market opportunity, per the latest annual Global Retail E-Commerce Index from A.T. Kearney. The study ranks countries based on their online market size, consumer behavior, growth potential and infrastructure to reach an online market attractiveness score.
This year the US moved up two spots in the rankings to take over the top billing from last year’s leader, China. The US benefits from its market size as well as high consumer behavior (index of 83.2 on a 100-point scale) and infrastructure (91.5) scores, en route to an overall market attractiveness indexÂ of 79.3. By comparison, China (overall score of 77.8) also benefits from its market size; while having inferior consumer behavior (59.4) and infrastructure (43.6) scores, itÂ beats the US by a large margin in growth potential (86.1 vs. 22).
Third on the list is the UK (overall score of 74.4), which, like the US, benefits largely from its consumer behavior and infrastructure scores. Â Of the top 30 countries in market attractiveness, the UK ranks fourth in consumer behavior, with a score of 98.6. (This score is based on indicators of online consumer behavior, such as internet penetration, purchasing trends, and technology adoption.)
Rounding out the top 5 countries in market attractiveness are Japan (70.1) and Germany (66.6). Germany has one of the higher growth potential scores among developed markets, consistent with the Centre for Retail Research study, which predicts that the country will have the fastest e-commerce sales growth rate this year (23.1%) of the 8 European countries studied.
Who’s Shopping Online in the US?
In a recently-released Bronto survey [download page] of 1,012 online shoppers in the US (those who had made a purchase online during the prior 12 months), 60% of respondents reported shopping online at least once a month, and almost one-quarter shopped online at least once a week (“frequent shoppers”).
Interestingly, men (30%) were significantly more likely than women (18%) to report being frequent shoppers. That marks a departure from last year’s survey, when male and female online shoppers surveyed were equally as likely to report being frequent online shoppers (25% each).
In other survey results, the 18-29 (35%) and 30-39 (37%) age groups were most likely to report being frequent online shoppers, both at greater rates than last year. Somewhat surprisingly, significantly fewer online shoppers in the 40-49 bracket this year reported being frequent online shoppers (23% vs. 32% last year). This group was far more likely instead this year to say they shop online infrequently.
B2B E-Commerce Sales in the US Also Set to Grow
It’s not only consumer spending that’s set to grow online. Consistent with reports that B2B buyers are increasingly researching and making purchases online, a new Forrester report forecasts that B2B e-commerce will grow to represent 12.1% of all B2B sales in the US in 2020, up from 8.5% last year. That’s in line with estimates from B2B CMOs themselves, who recently predicted that roughly 10% of their sales will be through the internet this year.
The Forrester forecast sees year-over-year growth in B2B e-commerce sales down slightly this year (8.8%) from last (9.3%), but otherwise increasing modestly through the forecast, with a peak growth rate of 9.4% in 2019 and 2020. The study notes that two B2B categories will see more than 20% of their sales via the internet by 2020: drugs and druggist sundries; and electronic goods.
About the Data: The countries studied in the RetailMeNot and Centre for Retail Research report are: the UK; Germany; France; Spain; Italy; the Netherlands; Sweden; Poland; the US and Canada. Full methodological details are available in the study, which can be downloaded by following the above-referenced link. Likewise, detailed methodology for the other studies covered above can be accessed by following the relevant links.