Before the global health crisis, shoppers favored physical stores for instant gratification and tactile product experiences. But the pandemic changed all this. Lockdowns fueled a surge in online shopping, even among older consumers new to the digital market.
After lockdowns were lifted, buyers returned to stores mainly for online pickups. And while brick-and-mortar shops did regain some of their former foot traffic, 90% of Americans now primarily use eCommerce for shopping.
This overview of 2023 eCommerce statistics will help expand your understanding of the online shopping landscape and inform your business strategy.
Let’s explore the business, sales and market impact of current eCommerce trends across product categories, demographics, regions, payments and technologies.
Benefits and drawbacks of eCommerce
The pandemic sped up eCommerce adoption, and now it lets us reach people globally, saves money and is easy to use for consumers. But there are drawbacks.
Security can be a problem. There’s no face-to-face contact. Customer service can get tricky.
Recognizing the benefits customers seek and addressing their concerns is paramount for growing your eCommerce business.
In a 2022 report, 45% of respondents cited “flexibility to shop at any time” as the top benefit of eCommerce. Next on the list was finding better prices, which shoppers said was a critical motivation for buying online.
Most other shoppers valued some form of convenience:
- 22% preferred shopping across locations
- 25% researched products and reviews
- 26% used eCommerce for easy product search
- 34% wanted more product variety
- 36% wanted to avoid physical stores
Many cited product quality as a potential drawback of shopping online.
Specifically, 46% disliked not seeing items in person before buying them. Quality, shipping delays and complex returns were other negatives.
eCommerce market size
In 2023, global eCommerce will make up over 21.5% of total retail sales at $6.15 trillion, a $600 billion rise or 11% increase from 2022. By 2025, eCommerce will account for 23.6% of sales, reaching $7.39 trillion.
Southeast Asia, India and Latin America have the highest eCommerce sales growth rates.
In 2023, the Philippines and India will lead, highlighting Asia’s strong eCommerce sales growth. The U.S. is also a top-growth country with a 10.5% growth rate.
Hootsuite reported 4.95 billion internet users in Q1 2022, up 192 million from the previous year.
In 2022, Insider Intelligence stated global eCommerce sales exceeded $5 trillion for the first time.
According to Hootsuite, 23.9% of shoppers found eCommerce brands through online retail sites, while only 20.9% discovered brands via in-store displays.
These eCommerce stats highlight how internet expansion aligns with eCommerce growth.
Global eCommerce is expanding, seen in Brazil’s projected top 20 ranking from 2023 to 2027, with a 14.07% annual growth rate.
eCommerce sales and revenue statistics
Asendia reports that 2021 retail eCommerce sales were approximately $4.9 trillion worldwide. This figure is estimated to reach about $11 trillion by 2025.
The data shows positive growth, but you might have questions like “What regions and eCommerce platforms have the highest growth rates?” and “What products are driving the most sales?”
Understanding the sales numbers and what drives them can help you position your eCommerce store for success.
Online marketplaces earned $3.24 trillion in 2022. Amazon, Tmall, Taobao and JD.com dominated, holding 77% of the top 100 marketplace sales in 2023.
But don’t run away with the idea that only big marketplaces benefit from all that revenue. Third-party Amazon sellers get the larger slice of the pie, earning $0.54 per $1 shoppers spend.
The U.S. International Trade Association (ITA) states China accounts for almost 50% of global eCommerce, and in 2021, China’s online sales surpassed the U.S.’s at $1.5 trillion.
Despite challenges in 2022, China’s eCommerce is projected to grow 9.3% in 2023, reaching over $3 trillion by 2024. Insider Intelligence predicts no country will match even half of China’s sales that year.
Despite China’s sales dominance, Amazon was the top consumer online service company in 2022, valued at $857 billion. In 2023, its market cap reached $1.43 trillion and has hovered at over $1 trillion throughout the year.
Alibaba trailed Amazon with a $233 billion valuation, which grew to $317.33 billion in 2023.
Alibaba leads in several eCommerce sectors, with projected sales of $461.9 billion by 2027. However, Amazon might exceed that with a projected 2027 revenue of $518.9 billion.
As the previous eCommerce statistics we’ve looked at have shown, the pandemic lockdowns boosted online shopping activity.
From May 2021 to April 2022, Amazon saw 15.8 billion monthly desktop visits. Statista reported 3.16 billion unique visitors to Amazon in 2022, with eBay in second place at nearly 590 million visitors.
Amazon’s Prime Day consistently boosts sales across eCommerce product categories.
Prime Day sales have surged over 200% in recent years. In 2022, sales hit 300 million items, up from 100 million in 2018 and 175 million in 2019.
And it isn’t just Amazon that’s been seeing astronomical sales growth in recent years. More niche online retailers have also seen prominent gains.
In 2022, JD Health in China topped the list of eCommerce companies specializing in a single sector at $29 billion. Ocado trailed at over $6 billion, and HelloFresh was $3.8 billion.
Computer electronics and apparel comprised 21.2% and 19.7% of U.S. eCommerce spending, exceeding 40% combined. Plus furniture, the top three categories account for over 50% of retail sales across categories.
Global online shoppers averaged $2.3 per visit in Q1 2023. Luxury apparel led global sales at $2.71 per visit, followed by home furniture, slightly above $2.5.
U.S. and global shopping behaviors are aligned, favoring apparel and accessories and home furniture.
Insider Intelligence reported automotive, food and apparel as the fastest-growing categories. Automotive sales rose by 30.1% in 2022 and are projected to grow by 18.8% in 2026. Food and beverage grew by 20.7% and is estimated to rise by 16.3% in 2026.
Apparel’s growth declined from 15.4% in 2022 to 14.6% in 2023. By 2025, both apparel and health, personal care and beauty are predicted to grow by 14.1%. In 2026, apparel’s growth is expected to decrease to just 13.4%, while the health, personal care and beauty category is anticipated to fall to 13.9%.
McKinsey forecasts the global beauty market to expand from $430 billion in 2022 to $580 billion by 2027.
Alibaba and Amazon are set to dominate health and beauty sales, reaching $112.2 billion and $79.4 billion by 2027.
In the 2023 FIS Global report, digital wallets comprised 49% of global eCommerce transaction value, while credit cards followed at 20%.
In the U.S., digital wallets account for 32% of eCommerce sales, ahead of credit cards at 30%, with the top options being PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
However, PayPal transactions fell year-on-year to nearly 12.9% in Q4 2022 and made marginal gains in Q1 2023 to reach 13%.
A 2023 global survey found that 55% of eCommerce users wanted better, seamless payment methods, which seems to be driving digital wallet adoption.
Mobile eCommerce statistics
U.S. mobile eCommerce rose from $362 billion in 2021 to $431 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $710 billion by 2025.
Globally, it’ll hit $2.2 trillion in 2023, making up 60% of eCommerce sales — up from 56% in 2022.
U.S. mCommerce will represent 43.4% of eCommerce sales in 2023, an increase from 41.8% in 2022.
In another study, 91% of online purchases by adults under 50 happened via smartphones, demonstrating a strong mobile eCommerce uptrend for the foreseeable future.
In Q1 2023, smartphones accounted for 74% of online store visits and 63% of purchases.
The growth of mCommerce in the U.S. has been steady since 2020 and is projected to account for over 40% of all retail eCommerce sales in the country from 2023 to 2026.
Insider Intelligence predicts that sales from mobile devices will reach $768.28 billion by 2026.
Impulse buying drives eCommerce conversions. In a Statista report, 57% of women and 38% of men worldwide bought shoes or clothes online on impulse.
However, while 49% of men bought electronics on impulse online, only 27% of women did the same.
Electronics, apparel, furniture and beauty will lead eCommerce sales till 2026, possibly because they also have the most impulse buy rates.
While the food and beverages category has fewer impulse buyers, it tops Q1 2023 eCommerce conversions at 3.1%. Health and beauty followed at under 3%, beating the 2% eCommerce industry average.
Q2 2022 data shows device and screen size affect conversion rates, which fall as screens shrink.
Cart abandonment is common in eCommerce. Therefore, it’s essential that you understand why it happens so you can optimize your checkout process to reduce it.
In Q1 2023, U.S. shoppers abandoned 82% of tablet carts, while the mobile cart abandonment rate was 86%.
However, cart abandonment rates varied across product types.
For online furniture shopping in Q1 2023, approximately 90% of carts globally weren’t purchased, with mobile cart abandonment reaching 93% in that category.
In 2022, 98% of shoppers left cruise and ferry sites without making a purchase. In contrast, shoppers were least likely to abandon carts on grocery websites.
Customers often abandon carts due to extra costs, account creation, slow delivery or security concerns. For example, 19% don’t trust eCommerce websites with their credit card details.
eCommerce product return statistics
eCommerce shoppers typically buy under three items per order. However, a 2022 study revealed April and December averages at 3.16 and 3.12 items per order, respectively.
That said, when online shoppers buy many items in different variations, sizes and colors, chances are they’re “bracketing” — purchasing them to return all but one.
The problem is that buyers who return items are typically unaware of the cost implications for sellers. So, adjusting your return policies can help reduce bracketing, improving your bottom line.
A survey showed that 58% of online shoppers practice bracketing. Another study found that U.S. online shoppers under 30 often buy many items, planning to return at least one. About 61% of this group report doing so at least once a year before the survey.
In contrast, only 26% of shoppers 40 and above do the same.
As far as retail eCommerce goes, returns will happen. Asendia reported that 25% of shoppers return items frequently, typically sending back over 10% of their online purchases.
In addition, the report found that 60% of shoppers review a business’s return policy before completing a purchase, underscoring the importance of making your own return policies as clear and frictionless as possible.
Interestingly, most buyers and sellers don’t see eye to eye on return policies.
While 53% of customers want free returns, 51% of merchants don’t even offer them. Plus, 58% of buyers prefer returning items in-store for free over paying for returns.
Specifically, parcelLab reports that 63% of shoppers care about free return shipping when buying items. In the same light, Asendia says that 59% of millennials refuse to shop with an eCommerce store that charges for returns.
Hootsuite reported that 32.1% of its survey respondents bought products from an eCommerce store because of its easy return policy.
The trend is clear: Shoppers prefer businesses that offer returns — especially free returns.
eCommerce product returns cost billions
In 2022, U.S. eCommerce returns caused 24 million tons of CO2, a 50% rise from 2020.
Returns cost U.S. retail $817 billion, with online retail accounting for $203.22 billion. Of the $1.3 trillion in online sales, 16.5% ended up being returned.
In 2023, return rates are at 19.3% and are projected to fall to 14.7% by 2026.
What’s interesting is that 44% of U.S. consumers think returns are resold, but 4.3 billion tons ended up in landfills from 2019 to 2022, underscoring the importance of buyer awareness.
A 2023 study showed that online shoppers return items three to four times more often than in-store shoppers. But, many eCommerce stores think this is normal and do nothing to fix it, so only 19% of retailers have a strategy to handle returns.
Narvar reported that fit and size issues are two of the most common reasons for eCommerce returns, amounting to 42% of online returns.
Customers often use product photos, descriptions, reviews and, more recently, fit tech to avoid returns. Narvar’s report shows that 88% of customers who returned products for fit issues had used these tools but still returned them. However, 58% of shoppers who used augmented reality (AR) said it helped prevent them from having to make a return.
eCommerce personalization statistics
McKinsey reports that 71% of retail buyers want personalized experiences, and 76% would feel frustrated without them.
Personalization is crucial for a brand’s image. About 55% of online shoppers would use a loyalty program more frequently because of personalized rewards.
In Q1 2023, 46% of millennials and 41% of Gen X wanted personalized eCommerce recommendations. Overall, personalized recommendations ranked second in desired features after frictionless payment.
This shopper trend is driving businesses to invest in personalization. A Segment study shows that 69% of eCommerce businesses plan to invest more in personalization.
You can start from the low-hanging fruits, like making your eCommerce or WordPress website responsive.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can tailor shopping experiences by recognizing customer preferences and tracking orders, and companies are embracing it in a big way.
Gartner states that 80% of executives see AI automation as beneficial for all business decisions.
Similarly, 80% of eCommerce and retail businesses are adopting or planning to adopt AI chatbots for customer interactions.
Forrester says that 10% of Fortune 500 companies will employ AI for content generation, as human-led content production can’t match the scaling needs of personalization.
In a survey, 42% of marketers trust AI for content and real-time personalization. This number is slightly less than the 47% who trust AI for ad targeting but more than the 39% who would use it for email tasks.
In 2022, 35% of business leaders felt they achieved omnichannel personalization, up from 24% the previous year.
After seeing changes during and after the pandemic, it’s clear that eCommerce is here to stay. Hopefully, the lessons you learn from these eCommerce stats will prepare your business for what’s coming in the years ahead.
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