eCommerce growth in Europe outstrips the US

18th March 2013

Research group Forrester has released a new report into online retail growth in the US – and it shows that Europe still leads the way in this rapidly developing sector.

Ecommerce sales, in Western Europe, are expected to grow from $146 billion €112 billion) in 2012 to $249 billion €191 billion) by 2017. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 11% (against 9% in the US).

In the UK, online retail already accounts for about 13% of the total economy and is expected to increase its share to 15% by 2017.

The UK is a trailblazer for EU eCommerce as Italy and Spain lag the behind, with online sales currently accounting for 2% of annual revenue in each country. Both are expected to increase that market share by 1% and 2%, respectively, in the next five years.

Much has been made about the global eCommerce opportunities for SMEs in the UK. As well as cross-border selling within the EU, China is a vast market that can be tapped into with the right approach.

Emerging markets are good – we like emerging markets. But don’t forget, the world’s biggest economy is still the US and, like the UK, it has a burgeoning eCommerce sector.

The Forrester Group report states that the eCommerce sector – which accounts for 8% of the total retail sales in the US – will outpace conventional retail in the next five years.

Put another way, it will account for 10% of all retail sales – taking the total value of eCommerce sales to $370 billion by 2017.

The growth, according to Forrester, will be driven by two factors: smartphones and tablets, and increased investment by retailers in online sales divisions.

Almost half of US consumers now own a smartphone, using them to research purchases, find the best places to buy and the best prices available. And the report also shows that consumers are spending more and more leisure time shopping online.

So whether it’s in the US, Europe or Far East, eCommerce opportunities are there for businesses equipped to take advantage.

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