Online shopping has transformed the way people browse, compare, and buy. E-commerce platforms, online stores, and massive online marketplaces like Amazon have revolutionized retail and forever altered the commercial landscape.
To better understand how e-commerce is changing retail, we examined the e-commerce statistics that reveal who’s buying online, how consumers are using e-commerce platforms, and how they’re making decisions and purchases. These statistics prove that e-commerce is becoming an integral part of life for most internet users and that the enthusiasm surrounding e-commerce presents opportunities across devices, from smartphones to desktop computers.
As more global internet users shop online, e-commerce will continue to grow. eMarketer estimates that in 2020, e-commerce will account for $4 trillion in sales. In 2017, e-commerce sales are expected to near the $2 trillion mark.
Walmart and CVS are the two largest retailers in the world, but ecommmerce marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba are quickly closing in on that mark. If Amazon sustains its impressive year-over-year growth, it may eventually overtake the retail giants currently maintaining dominance in an increasingly e-commerce-focused commercial landscape.
In a study of consumers in America, Bigcommerce and Kelton Global found that 95% of Americans are shopping online at least once a year and the majority of Americans are doing so more frequently. Eighty percent shop online each month, 30% shop weekly, and 5% shop daily.
Younger generations are more enthusiastic about shopping online. Sixty-seven percent of Millennials prefer the online shopping experience, as do 56% of Gen Xers. By way of contrast, 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors are willing to purchase online.
Online shopping is a global phenomenon. While it’s particularly pervasive in the United States, with 95% of Americans shopping online, 58.3% of global internet users are purchasing using e-commerce tools.
While Amazon may be the most notable online retailer in the United States and North America, Chinese company Alibaba is a major force in online shopping in Asia. The Alibaba Group doesn’t quite hit Amazon’s revenue numbers, but it generated a massive $5.6 billion in revenue in Q1 2017, beating revenue forecasts for the quarter. Its e-commerce business alone generated just over $4.7 billion during the first quarter of 2017.
Mobile e-commerce makes up a large portion of online shopping, and that portion is growing. In the last six months, 62% of consumers who own smartphones purchased something from their phones.
Smartphones are a key tool for many shoppers who are just browsing, too. A Deloitte study found that more than 38% of consumers use their smartphones to browse shopping apps or websites at least once a week.
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As arguably the fastest and most convenient way to shop, it’s no surprise that 80% of Americans are now online shoppers. Furthermore, 12% of Americans report making online purchases on a weekly basis. Comparably, 28% report shopping online a few times a month, and 37% report shopping online less than that.
That said 64% of Americans report that price being equal they would prefer to buy a product at a physical store rather than online.
With internet users spending over 5 years and 4 months of their lives on social media, it stands to reason that social media would play a major role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Thirty percent of shoppers said that they were likely to make purchases through social network, but the platform does make a difference to consumers.
While 20% of shoppers said that they would make a purchase through Facebook, just 10% said they would do the same through Snapchat. Though their willingness to purchase varies by platform, men are more likely than women to purchase through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
e-Commerce giant Amazon dominates conversations around online purchasing, and for good reason. As the third largest retailer in the world, Amazon is a global force and generates tens of billions of dollars every quarter.
In Q4 2016, Amazon saw $43.74 billion in net revenue, up from $32.71 billion in the previous quarter (owing to the Q4 holiday boost) and up by $8 billion from $35.75 billion in Q4 2015.
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B2C e-commerce gets most of the attention, but B2B is poised to see massive growth in the next few years. By 2021, e-commerce will account for over 13% of total B2B sales and generate a massive $1.2 trillion.
B2C e-commerce is still the larger market and will be for the foreseeable future, but as e-commerce becomes more pervasive, it will continue to revolutionize business transactions.
For the majority of consumers, online shopping is about more than the convenience of buying online. It’s about finding the best prices for goods and services, too. Seventy-one percent of online shoppers are using online tools and e-commerce platforms to compare prices and find the best deals.
Large marketplaces like Amazon empower shoppers to compare brands and prices, and a number of third-party tools allow consumers to compare offerings from a number of different online stores. Price comparison isn’t an exclusively online experience, either—it’s becoming increasaingly common for consumers to check prices while in retail spaces.
While 53% of mobile users are willing to abandon mobile sites if they take three seconds or more to load, 28% of online shoppers abandon their carts when they encounter unexpected shipping costs. What’s more, 23% of shoppers will abandon their purchases if they’re forced to create an account in order to complete the purchase.
Mobile presents an incredible opportunity for retailers, but mobile site optimization, as well as clear communication regarding requirements to purchase and ship, are paramount to customer conversion and retention.