Asia-Pacific leapfrogs North America to become world’s largest regional ecommerce market
According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts, worldwide business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales will increase by 20.1% this year to reach $1.500 trillion. Growth will come primarily from the rapidly expanding online and mobile user bases in emerging markets, increases in mcommerce sales, advancing shipping and payment options, and the push into new international markets by major brands.
In 2014, for the first time, consumers in Asia-Pacific will spend more on ecommerce purchases than those in North America, making it the largest regional ecommerce market in the world. This year alone, B2C ecommerce sales are expected to reach $525.2 billion in the region, compared with $482.6 billion in North America.
China will take in more than six of every 10 dollars spent on ecommerce in Asia-Pacific this year and nearly three-quarters of regional spending by 2017. The country’s ecommerce market is second only to the US, but this is not expected to last much longer. Beginning in 2016, China will overtake the US in spending. Massive gains in China, as well as in India and Indonesia, will push Asia-Pacific’s growth ahead.
These countries, along with Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Italy and Canada, will drive ecommerce sales growth worldwide. Ecommerce markets in other countries included in eMarketer’s forecast are nearing maturity.
The strength of sales in emerging markets is largely due to their large populations coming online and buying there for the first time. Asia-Pacific will claim more than 46% of digital buyers worldwide in 2014, though these users will only account for 16.9% of the region’s population. Penetration will also be low in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. For now, North America and Western Europe are the only regions where a majority of residents will make purchases via digital channels.