A.T. Kearney: Top 20 e-commerce markets of the globe

05 May 2015 Consultancy.uk

The US, China and the UK are globally the most attractive e-commerce markets, while Belgium and Denmark show the best improving online retail landscape, reveals A.T. Kearney’s latest Global Retail E-Commerce Index. From a product perspective, electronics leads the pack, followed by fashion.

Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney recently released the 2015 edition of its ‘Global Retail E-Commerce Index’, in which it ranks the top 30 countries in the area of e-commerce*. The index, which is based on several variables that rate both a country’s current market and its potential for growth, includes both big and the small markets and is designed to support retailers with shaping their online market investment strategies.

Global e-commerce sales

Last year (2014) experienced another year of impressive growth of retail e-commerce around the world – the market grew by 21% to almost $840 billion. According to A.T. Kearney, the growth results from online retailers expanding to new geographies combined with physical retailers entering new markets through e-commerce, with more and more consumers (continuously) connected. Based on its model, the business advisory foresees a continued growth for global retail e-commerce, at least until 2018, albeit on a slower rate, with a 18% growth expected this year, of 16% in 2016, 15% in 2017 and 13% in 2018. By then, the market will have passed the $1.5 trillion mark.

2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Index - Top 20

In this year’s Global Retail E-Commerce Index, the US has kicked China from the first place, with an ‘online attractiveness score’ of 79.3, the consequence of continued growth, an improving economy and increased consumer confidence. The US is followed by China, scoring 77.8, and the UK, that rises one spot to third place, with a score of 74.4. Japan, which drops two places to fourth spot, and Germany, on fifth place, close the top five of most attractive countries for e-commerce.

All European countries in the top 15 climbed in the ranking, with Belgium, which jumps 15 places, seeing the biggest increase in its attractiveness, followed by Denmark, up 12 spots. The Asia Pacific e-commerce market saw the biggest decline in attractiveness scores in this year’s top 15; in addition to China and Japan, South Korea and Singapore also saw their scores drop. Latin America is not found in the top 15, with Mexico, which is seen as the most attractive Latin American country, coming into the list at 17th place.

Popular online categories

In addition to ranking the countries based on their attractiveness for e-commerce, the index also ranked the most popular categories for online sales. Electronics turned out to be the most popular category, with 77% of respondents having bought electronics online, followed by fashion and apparel (76%), services (76%) and books (73%). 

Commenting on the index, Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney Partner and co-author of the study, says: “The Global Retail E-Commerce Index reflects trends that global retailers and brand-builders cannot overlook. Global retailers and global brands are global for a reason—their brands, systems, scale, or intimacy in regions allow them and compel them to push their boundaries further, but it is never easy. Determining where to put the chess pieces is the only way to tap into today’s sales and earnings growth possibilities.”

* In the index, e-commerce or online retail is defined as the sale of consumer goods to the general public through web sites operated by pure-play online retailers or those owned by store-based retailers.

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