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.
eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.
In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.