We all know about e-commerce. Anyone that has ever bought something online has taken advantage of the accessibility and ease of the online shopping world. But of course, you already knew that.
However, what you probably don’t know are the top products from some of the markets around the world. We’ll look at emerging, top, and sluggish markets and identify their trends and popular items sold.
First, let’s look at Russia. The e-commerce market is showing signs of growth and “is projected to total somewhere between 690 billion rubles ($23 billion) and 900 billion rubles ($30 billion) in 2015.” According to those figures, that will represent 5% of the current market. Even further, the market is expected to continue its growth into 2020 and exceed over $50 billion.
Interestingly, most purchases are made cash in hand. However, Eric Mason, spokesman for Wix—which recently partnered with Russian e-commerce service Yandex.Money, says, “The goal is to experiment and do the best we can to provide the best services” for online payments—making online payments easier for Russian business owners. Online payments are heading in the right direction.
So, what is everyone in Russia buying?
According to InSales, an online store builder, the most popular items purchased were household appliances and consumer electronics, with clothes and shoes as a close second. Interestingly, spare car parts (€355.7 million) are a lot more popular than books and DVD’s (€89 million).
In the United Kingdom things are a lot different. There has already been an impressive £91 billion spent online. A lot of the transactions taking place online are from mobile phones, which has increased a whopping 138% since 2012. Also, unlike Russia –where most transactions are cash in hand—the UK uses credit cards at a 40% rate. PayPal, together with credit cards, represent 96%.
Most popular items sold in the UK? Fashion. Sporting goods are also very popular. Most of these sales are made through e-commerce giants Amazon, Tesco, and eBay. Fashion and sporting good purchases indicate a clear difference between Russia and their emerging but not-quite-there e-commerce market.
Another very interesting look-in is Turkey. Their most popular items bought were service oriented. However, their market is completely different than that of the UK. While Turkey Internet users are relatively young (70% of its internet population is 35 years old or younger), their online e-commerce market just hasn’t gotten there yet. Don’t get me wrong, they are certainly getting there—but they aren’t there yet. Lets look at the numbers: only 0.8% of retail sales in Turkey are online (compared to 9.6% in the UK) and only 68% of Turkish citizens prefer credit cards to other forms of payments (compared to the 96% that we looked at earlier).
Another emerging e-commerce market is Brazil. They have an exciting up-and-coming economy with a promising middle class that is leaning heavily on Internet sales. Even more, lower income groups are also gaining confidence with online shopping.
Further, Brazil’s e-commerce market numbers could surpass $25 billion by 2017. Also, they’re easily the biggest e-commerce market in Latin America with more and more people using smart phones to purchase items online—merchants and consumers are comfortable with online retail sales, which increases sales and transactions. Oh, and Brazilians are all about purchasing fashion products—just like the UK.
Unlike more developed countries, Brazil has a serious problem of delivering their products outside of the bigger cities. This could stunt their growth in the future.
While $25 billion sounds like a lot of money, $540 billion is just way more. That number is the expected growth for China in 2015. In 2020, their e-commerce expectations will compete with the United States, UK, Japan, and Germany and may even surpass the current leaders. Another reason for the growth—they have the largest population (1.36 billion), the largest amount of Internet users (517 million), and the most online shoppers (220 million). A lot of revenue can be generated with those numbers.
A major culprit to the successful market is the 500 million plus consumers who shop online either on mobile or desktop. Interestingly, 78% of consumers were concerned with the authenticity of products purchased online. While Tmall, a major online shopping giant has addressed certain issues; the struggle is still there.
Cosmetics are the most popular item purchased in China. Right after that, women’s shoes, bags, and apparels are a close second. While cash used to be the most popular payment method, automated online payments have now become more popular. Also, another interesting note is that men purchase more frequently than women, but women spend more per item.
Now that we’re at the top of the market, lets stay there for a quick minute. The United States is understandably a huge market. Their e-commerce market is at $262 billion and expected to nearly double in a few years. Most consumers use smart phones and tablets to purchase their products and retailers are investing heavily to make online markets even more accessible and easy to use.
Consumers from the United States frequently purchase computers and consumer electronics and most often use Amazon and eBay.
Germany is also a top e-commerce market and growing every year. In fact, Germany will have grown by 25% by the end of 2014 (from 39.1 billion euros in 2013). Much like the United States, most sales are generated from Amazon and eBay. However, Germans—and most notably German women—are mainly interested in buying clothing online. Clothing represents 11.6 billion euros.
Another exciting e-commerce market beginning to take shape is South Korea. A staggering 80% of the population is connected to the online world (largest percentage in the world) and they can also take-the-cake for fastest Internet speed, too (13.3 Mbps).
Recently, Borderfree—a website dedicated to growing online businesses across the globe—scored Korea a 4 out of 5 on ‘desirable markets’ which indicates significant increase in e-commerce revenue.
In 2013, Koreans spent $19.0 billion (USD) in online purchases. In 2014, the total number is expected to rise to $20.8 billion (USD). Koreans mainly purchase luxury products on their credit cards. Also, they are known to purchase US products.
While Korea is exciting, Japan is especially exciting. They are tops when it comes to e-commerce potential (along with China). They boast 100 million Internet users and 75 million online shoppers with an annual e-commerce market of $52 billion (USD). Also, items purchased are easily shipped around the country. With such as technologically advanced culture, their numbers are expected to rise to $80 billion (USD) in the next 5 years.
Japanese usually purchase from popular sites like Rakuten and most commonly purchase books and magazines. Food, drinks, and alcohol are close behind.
Last but not least, we take a look at India. Despite the 2nd largest population in the world, India has a ways to go to match the top markets in the world—mainly because only 10% of the country is connected to the Internet. However, FlipKart and other e-sites are emerging and numbers are expected to rise—and at a quick rate.
Just like Russia, India likes to purchase products with cash and they usually purchase electronics and apparels. Currently, the market is abound with 10 million shoppers and expected to rise 30% in the following years. Good times are sure to come for India and their e-commerce goals.
Santosh Kanekar, a consultant who advises companies to invest in Indian firms, put it nicely when he said, “Investors tend to behave like a herd and since e-commerce is the flavor of the day, many investors are rushing there”.