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Asian shoppers drive $1 trillion ecommerce boom

Global ecommerce sales passed the trillion dollar milestone for the first time last year, according to the latest figures. Much of this growth is in the Asia-Pacific region, which is predicted to account for a third of all online sales this year.

Invesp analysed online sales in the USA and the rest of the world. You probably won’t be surprised by their prediction that the global ecommerce market will continue to grow significantly over the next few years. But it’s interesting to see where most of that growth will be.

Europe and North America will both account for a small proportion of the overall “ecommerce pie”. They will be outpaced by the rapid growth in online business-to-consumer (B2C) sales in Asian countries.  Their share of ecommerce sales will rise steadily from 33.4 per cent in 2013 to 39.7 per cent in 2016.

Global ecommerce in 2013

At present, North America accounts for 31.5 per cent of consumer online sales, but this will fall to 28.2 per cent in 2016. Western Europe currently accounts for just over a quarter (25.7 per cent) of sales, but this will decrease to 22.8 per cent. In the meantime, the Latin American and Eastern European slices of the pie will remain roughly the same, while the Middle East and African shares will grow slightly.

Overall there is plenty of good news for anyone investing in global ecommerce. Online retail is still growing steadily in the USA, and it’s expected that 10% of all sales will be made on the internet by 2017. Of these, roughly a quarter will be on mobile devices.

But it’s clear that some of the biggest opportunities are in the Asia-Pacific region. China, India and Indonesia already represent huge markets, but internet penetration is still low. Furthermore, a large percentage of the population don’t own credit cards. But this is rapidly changing.

Another report by ComScore looked at online trends in India, Malaysia and Singapore. They found that the numbers using the internet for banking, booking travel and shopping were all growing steadily, and significantly outpacing the UK.

Their research also found that Asian shoppers were very likely to engage in “showrooming” – that is looking at goods in a traditional store, but buying them online. The main reason was (unsurprisingly) a lower price, but respondents also cited wider selections and the convenience of online shopping.

More and more Western companies are now looking east to find new customers and take advantage of these growing markets. Of course it takes research and careful planning. Some of the factors to consider range from tailoring products and websites, to targeting  the right social media and search engines.

The way people shop will vary depending on country and region. One key trend in China is that many major brands sell via third party sites.  Taobao.com and Tmall are often compared to Ebay, and are massively popular.  But this could change as ecommerce continues to grow, with more brands wanting to sell via their own sites and control the customer experience.

We’ll be watching closely to see if these markets fulfil the predictions.
If you’re considering selling your products or services  in Asia (or the rest of the world) then why not get in touch with our internet marketing experts? They can advise on translation, localisation, and much more.

Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Lingo24

Andrew Campbell is Chief Executive Officer of Lingo24. He has extensive experience working with IT centric businesses in Edinburgh, London, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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