Best International Ecommerce Markets

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An amazing 3.2 billion people used the Internet in 2015 more than quadrupling the 730 million users during 2000, according to International Telecommunication Union research. This rapid worldwide growth in digital connection has led to the rise of international ecommerce sales as web-savvy businesses of all sizes pursue new customer markets.

Beyond web offerings from the country where they reside, an average 45.3% of local online consumers demand a growing range of products via ecommerce orders satisfied by foreign suppliers. According to DHL’s 2013 Shop the World consumer study, 46% of international ecommerce sales were for clothing, consumer electronics, media products and food.

There are distinct differences in cross-border ecommerce demand by country. Clothing is the leading purchase category for China and Germany, but is an insignificant factor among online buyers living in Brazil where consumer electronics is the major category. In Turkey, food sales dominated ecommerce transactions while in Canada the demand for media products prevail.

Best International Ecommerce Markets by Country

Total Orders

During 2015, the average per country purchases for 20 of the world’s top ecommerce markets totaled 824.7 million orders. That China posted over 19,000 times the number of ecommerce transactions compared to last place Greenland should come as no surprise given that the Chinese market consists of 1.4 billion people compared to Greenland’s 733,146 residents.

  1. China: 6.3 billion cross-border ecommerce orders
  2. India: 3.2 billion
  3. United States: 1.8 billion
  4. United Kingdom: 1.1 billion
  5. Germany: 719.9 million
  6. Japan: 531.1 million
  7. Russia: 416.2 million
  8. Italy: 357 million
  9. France: 328.8 million
  10. Spain: 264.9 million
  11. South Korea: 252.1 million
  12. Australia: 243.3 million
  13. Mexico: 242.9 million
  14. Canada: 185.2 million
  15. Poland: 146.8 million
  16. Turkey: 117 million
  17. Austria: 107.4 million
  18. Switzerland: 74.6 million
  19. Netherlands: 57.8 million
  20. Greenland: 329,916

These cross-border ecommerce metrics were calculated by multiplying each country’s total number of ecommerce orders in 2015 times the country’s international ecommerce sales percentage times the country’s population estimated by the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Per Capita

While the fourth-largest in terms of population, the UK represents the most productive market in terms of cross-border ecommerce orders per resident. Although it has the smallest population, Greenland has the second-highest number of international orders per capita in part due to the limited availability of competitive products available locally.

  1. United Kingdom: 17.2 ecommerce orders per capita
  2. Greenland: 12.7
  3. Austria: 12.3
  4. Australia: 10.6
  5. Switzerland: 9.1
  6. Germany: 8.9
  7. Italy: 5.8
  8. Spain: 5.5
  9. United States: 5.4
  10. Canada: 5.2
  11. South Korea: 5
  12. France: 4.9
  13. China: 4.6
  14. Japan: 4.2
  15. Poland: 3.8
  16. Netherlands: 3.4
  17. Russia: 2.9
  18. India: 2.6
  19. Mexico: 2
  20. Turkey: 1.5

Based on the above 20 countries, the average was 6.4 international ecommerce orders per capita.

Percentages

Among the 20 ecommerce markets, seven countries had more purchases from international ecommerce suppliers than from online domestic businesses. Austria, Australia and Switzerland show the greatest demand for products from foreign ecommerce sellers.

  1. Austria: 79% are cross-border transactions
  2. Australia: 74%
  3. Switzerland: 73%
  4. United Kingdom: 60%
  5. Italy: 57%
  6. Spain: 54%
  7. Canada: 54%
  8. Germany: 49%
  9. Greenland: 45%
  10. Russia: 43%
  11. Netherlands: 43%
  12. France: 41%
  13. United States: 40%
  14. Mexico: 34%
  15. Japan: 32%
  16. India: 30%
  17. South Korea: 30%
  18. Poland: 30%
  19. China: 20%
  20. Turkey: 18%

The average for the above 20 countries was 45.3% for ecommerce purchases from international sources, which means the percentage is 54.7% for sales from ecommerce businesses in the buyer’s home country.

Sellers

Ecommerce Providers for Top 10 Countries

So where do the ecommerce sales for each of the top 10 countries come from? Below are the top ecommerce suppliers by country for the top 10 international ecommerce markets led by China, India and the US.

  • China: US (65.8%), Hong Kong (34.8%), Japan (30.4%), UK (17.9%), Germany (13.6%)
  • India: US (66.4%), UK (24.2%), China (22.4%), Hong Kong (11%)
  • United States: China (48.1%), UK (40.5%), Canada (31.2%), Hong Kong (22.4%), Japan (20.2%)
  • United Kingdom: US (70.8%), China (36.7%), Hong Kong (31%), Germany (17.8%)
  • Germany: UK (47%), US (44.6%), China (32.6%), Hong Kong (26.9%)
  • Japan: US (69.4%), China (17.9%), UK (10.2%), Hong Kong (6.4%)
  • Russia: China (65.6%), US (49.5%), Germany (26.4%), UK (20.4%), Hong Kong (19.9%)
  • Italy: UK (53.4%), Germany (52.8%), US (35.7%), China (29.2%), France (25%)
  • France: US (48%), UK (46.2%), Germany (38.7%), China (25.6%), Hong Kong (15.8%)
  • Spain: UK (48.6%), China (44.6%), US (41.8%), Germany (31.8%), Hong Kong (20.5%)

The United States was the number one international choice for supplying five of the top 10 ecommerce markets, followed by the United Kingdom which was the leading supplier for four of the remaining five leading countries for ecommerce purchases.



 

See also Top Industrial Robots Exporters, Hearing Aids Importers by Country, Top Surveying Equipment Exporters by Country and Heart Pacemaker Export Sales by Country.

Research Sources:
Alibaba, Annual e-commerce revenue by region. Accessed on October 28, 2016

Central Intelligence Agency, Country Comparison: Population. Accessed on October 28, 2016

DHL, Shop the World!. Accessed on October 28, 2016

International Trade Centre, E-Commerce in China: Opportunities for Asian Firms. Accessed on October 28, 2016

Keira McDermott, Payvision BV, Key Business Drivers and Opportunities in Cross-Border Ecommerce. Accessed on October 28, 2016

Wikipedia, Online shopping. Accessed on October 28, 2016