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31 August 2021 • Resources

What percentage of retail sales are online? 11 Essential ecommerce stats

What percentage of retail sales are online? 11 Essential ecommerce stats

While the history of ecommerce goes back as far as the 1960s, it’s certainly seen quite a few changes since it originated and has had a major boost in popularity.

There’s no doubt that ecommerce growth has had a significant impact on the retail industry. An increasing number of consumers are opting to shop online in addition to, or sometimes instead of, heading to brick-and-mortar stores. 

Online shopping is becoming more popular with customers year after year for a number of reasons.

Feel like staying in bed all day? Not a problem. Online retail allows you to shop in your PJs from the comfort of your home.

Just remembered that your sister’s birthday is tomorrow and you’ve no time to run to the store for a gift? With the prevalence of speedy shipping options, there’s no need to worry. Choose next-day shipping to ensure that she receives that vintage Ramones album on time. 

Need a new laptop but hate feeling pressured by salespeople? Relax. Simply go online, where you can spend hours researching different brands and features until you find the perfect device for your needs.  

Greater convenience, a better selection, and lower pricing have made ecommerce very attractive to consumers all over the world. 

However, what portion of total retail sales is actually made up of online sales? We’ll get into this and share other helpful ecommerce statistics shortly.

First, though, let’s go through some basic terms to make sure that we’re all on the same page!

What is retail?

You’ve probably heard the term “retail” thrown around lots of times, but what does it really mean? When we say “retail,” we’re talking about the sale of products or services from businesses to consumers for their own use. 

A retail sale can happen through various sales channels. Possibilities include brick-and-mortar stores, direct sales, direct mail, and, of course, online stores. 

While wholesale involves larger scale purchases of goods, retail generally consists of transactions with smaller quantities of goods. What makes a sale a retail transaction is that the buyer must be the end user.

What is a retailer?

A “retailer” is simply the person or business that sells the product or service to consumers for their individual consumption. Retailers usually purchase goods from either a wholesaler or a manufacturer rather than make the goods themselves. They then turn around and sell those products to consumers for their personal use.

Online retail statistics

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at some interesting statistics involving the online retail sector. In this digital age, ecommerce is dynamic and evolving every year. 

However, whether a business is one of the largest online retailers in the world or is new to ecommerce, here are 11 statistics from Statista that are especially beneficial for them to know today to help further their growth.

1. Percentage of total retail sales that come from online 

According to Statista, online sales made up approximately 19% of all retail sales around the world in 2022. With the constant growth that we’ve seen with ecommerce, it comes as no surprise that this rate is expected to increase in the future. It’s currently estimated that this percentage will rise to almost 25% by 2025.

2. Online retail revenue in the US

Shopping on the internet is a much-enjoyed activity all around the world, but this is especially true for the US. In fact, the US takes first place for the list of top countries buying online.

A recent report shows that in 2022, U.S. sales of physical goods from online retailers came to a little over $789 billion (USD).

Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the retail industry, this amount is expected to continue to grow. It’s believed that U.S. ecommerce sales of physical goods will reach $1.5 trillion by the year 2028. 

3. Top reason for shopping cart abandonment

A November 2018 survey found that the number one cause of cart abandonment for online shoppers in the US was high shipping. These days, the consumer is used to receiving orders quickly and cheaply, often for free. 

Online stores that have expensive shipping or who surprise customers with unexpected shipping costs risk losing out on a high number of sales. 

If your ecommerce business isn’t able to provide free shipping for every order, consider offering it when customers spend a certain amount of money. Just be sure to clearly communicate that amount on your website so that site users know how much they need to spend to qualify.

4. Mobile commerce as a percentage of total ecommerce sales 

Statista reports that in 2017, 58.9% of global ecommerce sales came from customers shopping on mobile devices. The ever-increasing usage of smartphones ensures that this mobile commerce percentage is only going to grow. In fact, mobile commerce is predicted to account for 72.9% of ecommerce sales in 2021.

For this reason, it’s now more important than ever that your ecommerce website is optimized for use on mobile devices if you aim to achieve growth. Online stores that offer personalization and quick loading speeds are guaranteed to have a leg up on their competitors who don’t provide the same.

Fortunately, when you create your online store with WiziShop, you can opt to create your site in the AMP format for lightning-fast loading. You’ll also have access to over 400 amazing features to optimize the performance of your website! 

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5. Influence of social media on online retail

There’s no denying the extreme power of social media. It can help guide fashion trends, political opinions, and even social movements. 

This phenomenon is also able to influence the ecommerce consumer.

Fifty-one percent of internet users aged 16–24 research products online using social media as of the first quarter of 2019, according to a recent report.

In addition, a 2018 Statista survey discovered that 48% of respondents had bought products or services they found through social networks. With this data, it’s clear that brands must implement strong social media marketing strategies to achieve success in retail, online or otherwise.

6. Most frequently purchased products online

Customers venturing on the internet to relieve a shopping itch will find no shortage of products and services available. That being said, your ecommerce business may be interested in learning what goods are most popular with shoppers online to increase your chances of being profitable.

A 2020 study notes that as of 2018, clothing is the most frequently purchased product online. Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported that they’d bought apparel on the internet. 

However, food-and-beverage-related products made up the fastest growing ecommerce category, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 12.7% between 2017 and 2023.

7. Best source for generating site traffic

Even if you’ve got the most stunning ecommerce website on the web, it means nothing if the site isn’t attracting visitors. There are a number of avenues that can help boost traffic to your online store. 

However, in the second quarter of 2023, Statista found that direct navigation brought the highest average value per order, which was $166.50. This was followed by email, search, and social media, which led to average order values of $123.14, $116.46, and $107.53 respectively.

To help drive traffic to your retail website, it’s recommended that you use a combination of methods. You may need to experiment a bit to determine what works best for your business, but finding the right balance will definitely pay off!

8. Preferred online retail payment methods around the world

It goes without saying that it’s generally best to offer the consumer a variety of ways to pay when they purchase from your ecommerce store. Which payment methods you should offer, however, will depend on where your business is located and where your target customers live.

A 2019 Statista survey ascertained that credit/debit cards were the preferred payment form for 82% of responding online shoppers in the Americas. This was also the top pick for India and the Asia-Pacific region, with 73% and 71% of respondents favoring this option respectively.

In contrast, the preferred payment method for European respondents was the use of payment providers, including PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay, etc., with 80% choosing this option.

Did you know that managing your preferred payment methods is a breeze with the WiziShop ecommerce platform? What’s more, many popular payment methods are already integrated into our system for added convenience!

9. Products that customers prefer to purchase online rather than offline

While the convenience of online shopping makes buying certain products on the internet preferable for many consumers, other goods are better purchased offline. Data shows that for 2017, the product category with the highest preference for online purchasing was books, music, movies, and video games. 

In fact, 60% of shoppers prefer buying these items on the internet rather than in physical stores.

In contrast, the product category with the lowest preference for online purchasing was groceries. As people often like to see edible goods, especially fresh produce, in person, it’s understandable that only 23% of respondents favor buying this product category online.

10. How often people are visiting online retailers

Consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to shopping on the internet and being able to get whatever they want whenever they want. A 2018 survey found that 44% of respondents around the world reported making purchases online at least once every two weeks. Furthermore, 75% of respondents stated that they shop on the internet at least once a month. 

11. Average customer conversion rate

You’re likely already well aware that not every person who visits your ecommerce website is going to make a purchase. So, how many of these visitors convert from being mere site spectators to valuable customers? 

Statista found that the average global customer conversion rate as of Q2 2019 was 2.58%. The data also shows that the average rate in the US alone was determined to be just slightly lower at 2.57%. 

This means that for every 1,000 site visitors a site receives, only around 26 of them will end up becoming customers. To maximize conversions for your own online store, be sure that you’re doing everything you can to create a superior user experience on your website!

Final thoughts

As online shopping is on the rise, there’s never been a better time to get your ecommerce business off the ground. Use the aforementioned retail statistics to help guide your strategy for online sales. With a well-informed plan in place, you’re sure to be on the way to ecommerce success in no time.

Were any of these statistics particularly surprising to you? Which do you think will be the most helpful for your online store? Let us know in the comment section below! 

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