The Future Of Online Sales


I am fascinated by technological advances and how long it takes humans to figure out how to make use of them. Just think how long it has taken to get advances resulting from the information revolution into use. A good case in point: buying online. Unlike some, I do not like to shop. But if I have to, I far prefer to do it online than by visiting stores. In fact, the only things I go to “stores” for are auto fuel and fresh vegetables. In this piece, I look at how rapidly online shopping is coming into use and who are the largest players in the industry.

The Growing Share of Online Shopping

 As Table 1 indicates, the online shopping share is still quite low, only 8.6% worldwide. Of note, there are more online shoppers in Asia than in the West and very little online shopping is done in Latin America. There, it could be that relative to other regions, shopping is a time for socializing.

Table 1. – Online Shopping Shares, 2016

Source: Statista

Looking ahead, the graph below suggests that globally, the online share will double by 2020.

Source: Statista

I have found two data sets for the online share growth by country. Table 2 gives projections for developed nations and China. China has a high share already and is projected to continue growing at a very high rate. The UK currently has the largest online share while the US is in the middle of the group with less than overwhelming growth expected.

Table 2. – Projected Growth in Online Retail Share, Developed Countries and China

Source: Invesp

As might be expected, online shopping rates will grow most rapidly in developing nations where Internet access rates are low. As Internet access grows, so will online shopping. It is notable that two of the largest countries in the world, India and Indonesia, are at the top of the most rapidly growing list.

Table 3. – Countries with Highest Projected Online Shopping Growth Rates (2016-21)

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