Independent market research firm eMarketer released a study yesterday claiming that business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce will increase by 17 percent globally in 2013, with worldwide sales expected to reach $1.2 trillion. The Asia-Pacific region is driving ecommerce growth more than any other, and is expected to outpace the rest of the world at 23 percent growth over last year. China and Indonesia are leading the region’s growth.
“Asia-Pacific already accounts for nearly a third of all B2C ecommerce sales in the world, a share of the total just below North America’s. Next year, Asia-Pacific will lead all regions in share of the worldwide total spent online,” the study asserted.
Indonesia is expected to see ecommerce growth up 65 percent compared to 2012. China is up 71 percent over last year. Comparatively, the U.S. expects only a 12 percent rise in ecommerce by the end of the year.
While the Asia-Pacific leads in growth, North America maintains its lead in actual sales. North America spent $373 billion in 2012, which is expected to rise to $420 billion in 2013. The Asia-Pacific spent $316 billion in 2012 and eMarketer anticipates $389 billion to be spent this year.
However, the Asia-Pacific is set to overcome the reigning top spender by the end of next year. While North America is expected to have $469 billion in sales for 2014, the Asia-Pacific will take the lead at $502 billion. The gap will widen even further by 2016 – with the Asia-Pacific expected to spend $708 billion versus North America’s $580 billion.
The study also indicated that more web users in the Asia-Pacific are embracing online shopping:
“Ecommerce sales growth will be supported by an estimated 1.03 billion digital buyers around the world this year, 44.4% of whom will be in Asia-Pacific. China alone will boast 269.4 million digital buyers this year—a figure that includes internet users ages 14 and older who make at least one purchase via any digital channel during the calendar year. The US remains the country with the second-largest number of digital buyers, at 155.7 million this year,” the study claimed.
The study concludes that many web users in the Asia-Pacific who previously weren’t buying online will decrease this year. eMarketer expects penetration to increase in China, from 40 percent last year to a projected 71 percent of internet users by 2017. Current digital buyer penetration in the U.S. is just slightly above that projection currently at 72 percent.
“There is still significant room for growth, though, in developing markets where many internet users are still not buying online. Western Europe and North America are the only regions in the world where a majority of the online population is also a digital buyer,” said the study.
As countries like China increase its wealth, it becomes inevitable that more of its citizens will be connected to the web. It is logical to assume that many of those Internet users will discover the advantages (and disadvantages) of buying online.