The global B2C e-commerce sales of products and services continued to grow significantly in 2015. Compared to the preceding year, they increased by 19.9%, resulting in an online turnover of $2.3 trillion. As a region, Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest share of this amount, with its B2C e-commerce sales surpassing the $1 trillion mark. In terms of countries, China continued to possess the largest B2C e-commerce market, with its total online sales amounting to $766.5 billion.
For 2016, a growth rate of 17.5% is forecast, which would result in a global B2C e-commerce turnover of around $2.7 trillion. In order to put this huge figure into the right perspective, it is roughly the same as the Gross Domestic Product of a country like France or the United Kingdom.
These figures all come from the new Global B2C E-commerce Report 2016, which is created by the Ecommerce Foundation, in cooperation with Ecommerce Europe, the European e-commerce association. In addition, the report is powered by Asendia, Ingenico, Webhelp and MarketShare.
Asia-Pacific increases its lead
Just like in 2014, Asia-Pacific was the largest B2C e-commerce region in the world. With an online turnover growth rate of 28%, it actually increased the gap with its two main competitors, North America (+13%) and Europe (+13%). With this growth, Asia-Pacific’s B2C e-commerce turnover amounted to $1,057 billion in 2015, which is nearly as much as the online sales of North America ($644 billion) and Europe ($505 billion) combined. These three regions were followed by Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which did continue their strong growths. Respectively, their online turnovers reached $33 billion (+28%) and $26 billion (+19%).
Fastest growth in India
Asia-Pacific’s top ranking is mainly due to the presence of China, which owns the largest B2C e-commerce market in the world. In 2015, Chinese consumers spent $766.5 billion online on products and services, which equals nearly three quarters of the region’s online sales. Still, the top 10 of countries in terms of their e-commerce markets includes three other countries from Asia. In addition to Japan ($114.4 billion) and South Korea ($64.8 billion), which have been in this list for many years, India ($25.5 billion) has also become a key player in this regard. Last year, Indian e-commerce grew by a staggering 129.5% and this trend is expected to continue as a growth rate of 75.8% is forecast for 2016. As a result, India is expected to become more and more important in the world of e-commerce and will definitely climb a few places over the next few years.
Low Internet penetration
“What is interesting to note here is the fact that even though Asia-Pacific is outperforming other key regions, their Internet penetration rate is significantly lower,” says Richard van Welie, Chief Editor at the Ecommerce Foundation. “Whereas around 75% of the people in North America and Europe are connected to the world wide web, this rate is only 39% in Asia-Pacific. This is even below the global average of 45%. Interestingly enough, China (51%) and India (27%), whose e-commerce turnovers are growing very fast, also have rather low Internet penetration rates. Just imagine how much their online sales will grow when more people gain access to the Internet there.”