Ecommerce statistics to guide your strategy in 2020

Reading Time: 11 minutes
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Statistics are not mere numbers, they are important pieces of the puzzle for your e-commerce business to thrive when it comes to consumer behaviour. You can get a lot of things right if you consider figures that are important in the industry.

Remember most brick and mortar businesses are going online. Consumers surf e-commerce sites for better deals before they decide whether to buy a product online or offline. Change with the times and get your statistics right to get consumers’ attention. Keep them hooked on your e-commerce platform until they hit the buy button.

We decoded important statistics to tap the buying potential of consumers.

1. Global and US

In 2018, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide shopped online and global e-retail sales amounted to $2.8 trillion. By the end of 2019, global retail e-commerce sales will touch $3.45 trillion of which 13.7% of e-commerce sales contribute to global retail sales. By 2021 the growth is expected to be $4.8 trillion.

Consumers are expected to make around 95% of purchases using e-commerce platforms by 2040. The largest e-commerce market in the world today is China. In the US, 80% of internet users have made one purchase online. India and Indonesia have been the fastest growing e-commerce markets between 2018 and 2022.

There are almost 24 million e-commerce websites globally. Only 2.86% of these convert into a purchase. 85% of consumers research online before making purchases on e-commerce platforms.

If the US wants to catch up with China, businesses should go online to tap buyers’ potential. Almost half the businesses in the US still need to get online.

Key Takeaway: Location does not hinder e-commerce shopping. If you want to stay relevant, go the e-commerce way to reach out to more consumers. The world is shopping online and the US has to catch up with the China market which is constantly innovating products and marketing strategies to lure potential consumers across the world.

2. Demographics


Does it surprise you that men spend more than women while shopping online? Stock up more goods like men’s wear, shoes, electronic items and the latest gadgets as men tend to make more high-value purchases even though the items bought appear fewer in number. On the other hand, women love shopping and end up buying more items but they tend to be lower in value overall compared to men shopping online.

When it comes to the age groups, Generation X shoppers born between 1966 and 1981 shop more online compared to new age Millenials born between 1982 and 2001 according to a KPMG report called ‘The Truth About Online Consumers 2017’. Factors like being more settled in their careers and building a home with a family are reasons why Generation X consumers shopped 20% more online than the millennial shoppers.

More statistics in the KPMG report also reveal that consumers born in-between 1946-1965 outrank their younger Generation X counterparts in the US in the average amount spent per transaction. This age group spent an average of $203 per transaction in the KPMG survey period, compared to $190 by Generation X and $173 by Millennials.

Key takeaway: Don’t just put products online for the urban youth who are internet savvy, focus substantially on products for older age groups too. They have saved money, fulfilled major financial responsibilities for their families and are smarter while researching and making choices on products to buy online. The older generations do not step out to shop as much as their younger counterparts, so make the most of getting these consumers on our e-commerce platform.


3. Amazon

From starting in 1994 inside a garage to becoming the second company ever to hit the $1 trillion mark, leading e-commerce seller Amazon’s net revenue was $232.88 billion in 2018 from $177.86 billion in 2017.

In the second quarter of 2019,’s net revenue from the subscription services segment amounted to almost $4.68 billion. This includes Amazon Prime subscription services, which is estimated to have $103 million members in the US until March 2019.

The biggest revenue segment were online stores with 31.05 billion U.S. dollars in quarterly net sales. Amazon has online stores, physical stores, third-party seller services, subscription services, and Amazon web services in their business model.

On average, two in five US consumers (41%) receive one to two packages from Amazon per week. That number jumps to half (50%) for consumers ages 18-25, and 57% for consumers ages 26-35.

Amazon sells 353 million products and in the last six months, 83% of US consumers purchased at least one product on Amazon. 55% of consumers begin their online shopping searches on Amazon which surpassed google as a search engine to find products.

Key takeaway: Tap the potential to sell on Amazon to be in the big league of online sellers. The money pumped into Amazon’s business model is unmatched. The returns on investment is a testimony that consumers love their business model. Amazon has also positioned itself as a trustworthy enterprise and statistics reflect consumer sentiment in the US towards the leading e-commerce platform. VARStreet is a one-stop solution to get your products noticed on Amazon.


4. Google Shopping

Do you wonder how Google is placed compared to Amazon? Google has a lot of consumers who spend an average of 20 days between searching a product and hitting the buy button. 35% of Google product searches turn into transactions within 5 days. Q4 of 2018 showed the fastest growth rate in two years with Google Shopping ad spend up by 43% YoY. Cross-device strategies led to 16% more conversions for retail advertisers in the US.

Google Shopping ads have a higher CTR than Amazon’s Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads. You cannot ignore Google Shopping. The platform has a quicker transaction turn-around which shows Google being an influencer in consumers’ decision making with a higher-rate of searches converting a few days later.

In the second quarter of 2019, Google’s revenue rose to $38.78 billion U.S. dollars from $36.17 billion in the first quarter. Google’s main revenue source is advertising through Google sites and its network with most revenue coming from advertising through Google-owned and operated properties such as Google Search.

Key takeaway: Google has been around for more than two decades, being a game-changer and making innovations at every step. Amazon is the largest e-commerce reseller, but statistics have shown that Google platforms are useful to catch consumer attention and result in quicker sales conversions. Their brand recall is high with a multi-platform integrated presence where consumers use one google id for emails, cloud storage on google drive, google sheets and google maps to name a few platforms. Use relevant google services to your advantage to reach more consumers.


5. Selling office supplies

Selling office supplies

The global office supplies market is expected to rise by $38.6 billion in 6 years. In 2018 the figures were $235.3 billion which is expected to reach $273.9 billion by the end of 2024. Growth in the e-commerce marketplace in office supplies, rising sales of computer and printer segment and the increasing number of corporate offices are promising aspects to impact the growth of office supplies online.

Positive impacts are an increasing number of co-working spaces with a cost-effective flexible work environment. Another is a factor is that companies expanding operations across the globe. Both these factors result in a high purchase of office supplies. Office supplies are categorized as writing supplies, calendars, planners, organizers, clips and fasteners, tape and adhesives and computer and printer supplies amongst others.

Computer and printer supplies are expected to capture a market share of 29.9% in 2018 in the US. The global IT supplies market for computer and printer supplies is expected to reach $83.9 billion by 2024. The computer and printer supplies segment is likely to continue with its exponential growth in the next few years.

Office supplies purchases are moving away from conventional offline stores to bulk orders online given at discounts. For price-sensitive consumers, online shopping makes sense for office supplies and what’s more, the products are delivered at your doorstep.

Key takeaway: Consumers who run or are setting up corporate offices and co-working spaces fall back on newer shopping methods like e-commerce. The variety, availability and cost-effective solutions make office supplies online worth purchasing. Comparing products and finding something with perfect specifications is a bonus. Take the help of VARStreet to engineer a suitable B2B solution for your business.


6. Selling IT

Almost all offices cannot do without computers and laptops to store information. IT firms depend on IT supplies for their bread and butter and so do their employees. This is a huge potential for selling IT.

Companies also outsource work to other countries which makes IT solutions a big factor for e-commerce platforms selling IT. Software for your business related to IT, graphic designing, editing and reports by consulting firms sold online also adds to the growth of selling IT online.

The growth of digital businesses and e-commerce platforms globally is also a reason why you should consider selling IT and IT related products.

Key takeaway: Don’t ignore the potential to sell IT. With the growing need to map trends in your business, looking for and purchasing reports online are an easy solution. Statistics can change the game and most companies cannot ignore IT solutions available online. VARStreet guides you through every step for you to go online with your IT business.

7. B2B e-commerce

The global B2B e-commerce market is at $12.2 trillion in 2019. This is 6 times more than that of the B2C market. The Asia Pacific is the leader in e-commerce with a market share of almost 80%.

China has the largest piece of the pie in e-commerce. North America and Europe are far behind the Asia Pacific region. Big e-commerce players are Amazon Business and Alibaba. Companies in the B2B e-commerce space use the direct model or the marketplace model for business.

The direct model involves companies setting up their own platforms and selling directly to the buyers. A marketplace, on the other hand, is a platform with many companies selling their products alongside their competitors. B2C e-commerce has gained popularity but B2B e-commerce is a huge market to explore. VARStreet specializes in specialized solutions to propel your B2B set up.

Key takeaway: B2B e-commerce has huge potential which makes it a viable market apart from the B2C focus. The rise of vertical or specialized marketplaces is a growing trend. Offer products in a particular category along with specialized value-added services are examples of growth opportunities you can explore in the B2B e-commerce segment. VARStreet offers B2B specifications that can propel your business.


8. Shipping and delivery

Shipping and delivery

During a survey by Statista in September 2018, 44% of people said they were willing to wait for two days for orders delivered via fast shipping. In another survey by Statista in the US on online shopping and delivery in 2018, 39% stated that quick delivery of an online order is very important for them.

Another report by Walker Sands states that 79% of US consumers that free shipping is likely to make them shop more online. 54% of US consumers under the age 25 preferred same-day shipping which is the number one purchase driver.

Only 15% of US consumers feel online retailers offer shipping options that meet their expectations for speed of delivery, compared to 30% that report the same for Amazon. Consumers expect regular communication through the e-commerce website, email and SMS mediums about the delivery timing of their products.

Customer is king and consumers are willing to spend if they get value for money for great products. Offer free delivery for products above a certain threshold which encourages shoppers to buy more and get free delivery as an added incentive.

Key takeaway: Shipping products for free is a great way to get people to shop more and keep your commitment towards quick delivery. Even if it means offering free delivery for products purchased above a certain threshold. This builds the reseller-consumer relationship and increases brand value over the years.  Work on dropshipping and a third party logistics company to maintain inventory and deliver products promptly.


9. Returns

According to a report by Narvar, 63% of US online shoppers would not purchase products on an e-commerce platform without an easy return policy.

Nearly 70% of US online shoppers said that their most recent return experience was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ and 96% would buy from that retailer again based on that experience. 59% of US online shoppers said that they want to receive notifications about the status of their refund.

41% of US online shoppers said they would buy multiple versions of the same products and return those that didn’t work for some online purchases. An easy return policy is important as consumers are not touching the products and relying on photography and 3D video imaging.

When consumers know an easy return policy exists, they are more at ease as your e-commerce platform doesn’t appear to only target selling products, but also wants to build trust with consumers. This is one of the factors why consumers keep coming back to your website.

Key takeaway: Make the easy return policy prominent on your e-commerce website. Reviews by consumers on easy returns also build confidence amongst potential buyers to hit the buy button.

Partner with a third-party logistics company to pick up products returned by consumers and keep consumers informed of the status of exchanges or refunds after receiving products. Show consumers that your easy return policy is a reality.


10. Cart abandonment

According to statistics by SaleCycle, the average global cart abandonment rate in the third quarter of 2018 was 76.9%. Consumers who browsed products but were not ready to buy were 58.6% of people in the US according to another study by Baymard Institute.

The study goes on to say that the top three reasons US online shoppers give for abandoning a cart during checkout are high extra costs, the need to create an account and a complicated checkout process. A third study by SmartrMail reveals that the average open rate for an abandoned cart email is 15.21%, and the average click-through rate is 21.12% for their users.

The average revenue per email for an abandoned cart email is $27.12 for SmartrMail users. SmartrMail says emails are only sent to people who are likely to buy products abandoned in their cart after seeing these emails as they have already made it to the checkout.

There could be various reasons like lack of time or product value that made them contemplate placing the order. Abandoned cart emails give consumers the option to go back onto the e-commerce website and buy the product.

Key takeaway: Focus on buying patterns of consumers, products browsed and purchased to understand possible reasons for abandoning their cart. If pricing is a likely factor, notify them when you offer discounts. Another option could be not wanting to pay delivery charges. Bundle products to offer free delivery above a certain spending threshold to give consumers value for money. Bottom line, don’t ignore abandoned carts.


11. Instagram

Instagram is a fun and easy way to get onto an e-commerce platform and make a purchase. Consumers are not always in a mood to shop when on Instagram, but if they are curious about a product, they are likely to hit the buy button

Even if they don’t buy that product, chances are they will consider Instagram to shop. According to a Facebook survey, Instagram helps 83% of people to discover new products and services. 81% of people in the US say Instagram also helps them research products and services while 80% feel the platform helps to decide on a purchase.

Another study by GlobalWebIndex reveals Instagram users are 70% more likely to make online purchases on their mobile devices compared to non-users. The study also reveals that 44% of active Instagram users get onto social media for brand research and that Instagram ranks as the highest amongst social media platforms.

A third study by Forrester says that user and brand engagement on Instagram is 10 times more than Facebook, 54 times more than Pinterest and 84 times more than on Twitter.

Key takeaway: Fashion and lifestyle brands advertise on Instagram to get consumers’ attention. Even if consumers don’t intend to purchase products, create awareness on trending products and use Instagram to provide an easy way to direct them to your e-commerce website. In a nutshell, give it to them on a platter.


12. Mobile devices

According to a study by Pew Research Centre 80% of Americans shop online, and more than half of them use mobile devices for their purchases. Outerbox’s survey reveals that during the 2018 holiday season, almost 40% of online purchases were made using smartphones.

Google’s survey says 62% of people who have a bad mobile experience with your business are less likely to be your potential consumers with time. The study also says 69% of smartphone users are likely to make purchases from your e-commerce platform once their questions are answered on websites or apps.

The reach of the internet and ease of shopping on smartphones has prompted more online purchases than e-commerce websites. Mobile versions of your websites and apps give consumers a chance to browse products and keep purchases for later. This makes the medium a fast-growing online shopping tool.

Key takeaway: Build your mobile site differently from your website. Give consumers the ease to browse through products on the go. Mobile versions are more personalized than websites so make sure you give consumers a great experience. The more consumers download your app, the more likely they are to keep purchasing products from your e-commerce platform.


13. Conversion rates

On average, only 2.86 per cent of e-commerce website visits convert into a purchase which means only 1 in 34 website visitors converts to buyers. Increase your profits by making a small increase in your online store’s conversion rate can massively increase profits.

Statista reveals that 2.72% of global e-commerce website visits converted into sales which are 3.07% more than the preceding quarter. 2.88% of visitors made purchases in the first quarter of 2019 in the US. Mobile commerce has resulted in high page views and revenue. In saying that, traditional online shopping visits on a personal computer still top the conversion list.

Key takeaway: Strong relationships create trust and increase conversions and customer retention. Browse buying patterns and pursue abandoned carts of consumers through emails and integration with social media platforms.  This gives easy access to and recall of interest in products lead to conversions.


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