Asia-Pacific Takes Lead in E-Commerce


Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales grew 21.1 percent to top $1 trillion for the first time in 2012, according to new global estimates from eMarketer, and continued double-digit growth in 2013 is set to bring the total up to nearly $1.3 trillion worldwide. While North American e-commerce led with $364.7 billion in sales last year as consumers shifted spending from physical locations to online outlets, the Asia-Pacific region will surpass it for the first time in 2013 to become the world’s No. 1 e-commerce market, accounting for about one-third of all global B2C e-commerce sales.


Not surprisingly, China is the primary driver of growth in the region. The country will surpass Japan as the world’s second-largest e-commerce market this year, with about 14 percent of global sales, and India and Indonesia are expanding e-shopping almost as fast. The United States’ e-commerce spending is still twice that of China, but its share of sales is forecast to drop from 31.5 percent in 2012 to 29.6 percent in 2013, and may be eclipsed as early as 2017. China already has more than 220 million active e-shoppers, and by the end of 2014, will have more cyberconsumers than the United States has people.


Shoppers in the U.K. are the most spendthrift, however, with projected average sales of $3,878 per buyer in 2013. With £87.75 billion ($141.53 billion) in total sales, the U.K. accounts for nearly one-third of all B2C e-commerce in Western Europe, thanks to strong demand for food and apparel, and retailers’ well-established presence in new-media channels. Per capita sales are almost as big elsewhere in the Commonwealth, with Australian consumers set to spend a projected $3,802 per person in 2013.