Global Online Sales Projections

Global Online Sales Projections

A recent International Postal Corporation (IPC) report* shows promising retail e-commerce sales numbers for global cross-border markets. Retail e-commerce sales worldwide is expected to grow 23 % to $2.3 trillion USD in 2017, with the U.S. and China together accounting for $1.6 trillion USD of that total. According to the IPC, this represents almost 70 % of the global e-commerce industry.

IPC’s major findings show that:

  • Western Europe will record the slowest e-commerce sales growth of any region, but still positive at 12%. This brings the expected e-commerce sales value to $337 billion USD in 2017.
  • The U.K. leads the way in the region with projected sales of $110 billion USD in 2017.
  • The Asia-Pacific region shows the highest e-commerce sale growth of any region at 30% compared to 2016.
  • Mobile e-commerce sales in China alone are expected to reach $882 billion USD, up 42% from 2016. This means that nearly three-quarters (73%) of all retail e-commerce sales in the country will occur via mobile – which is the largest share of any country in the world.
  • India’s share of e-commerce sales from mobile comes in a close 2nd at $16 billion USD, a jump of 61% from 2016 and equating to just over a 72% share of total sales.
  • South Korea ranks third in mobile e-commerce sales, with mobile generating 59% of retail e-commerce sales in 2017.
  • For comparison, the total use of mobile for e-commerce sales in the United States is projected to grow 34% in 2017, representing roughly $176 billion USD.


diagram retail e-commerce sales worldwide 2016-2021
Image: IPC Market Insights
The high growth trends in the Asia-Pacific region are mainly contributed to these mobile purchases. In this region, higher internet and mobile usage is allowing consumers to gain access more easily and on a more frequent basis. On the other side, retailers in this region are providing improved shipping and delivery methods to extend their reach.

Today, online cross-border consumers are using the power of choice forcing online retailers to make improvements to their consumer’s online shopping experience, via a mobile experience or elsewhere. This can be an important difference-maker this holiday season. For example, in 2016 47% of online shoppers experienced challenges to making a cross-border e-commerce purchase during the holidays that year (based on a survey of 1200 retailers from 8 different countries and 12 000 consumers from 12 global markets).

Basic consumer pain points such as a weak shipping and returns process, shipping the right item, accuracy in address and tracking, and proper duty and tax information were all listed as main reasons the consumer felt inhibited. India and Hong Kong experienced the highest percentage of dissatisfied consumers with 73% and 69%, respectively. In China, 64% of online shopper experienced challenges during the holiday season.

To meet your consumer’s e-commerce shopping and delivery expectations this holiday season be sure to sign up with a delivery partner that has a well-established global business and can find the best delivery solution for you.

Austin Whittenberger – Regional Account Manager in the U.S.
*The “State of E-commerce: global outlook 2016-21” report provided overall e-commerce figures and projections at global and regional levels, including forecasts up to 2021. This report draws from the IPC’s very own case studies, previous cross-border e-commerce surveys and annual carrier reports.