July 27, 2021

China Tops Field in E-Commerce ‘Medal Count’

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
The parade of nations that opened the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics last week was perfect timing for a retail report of note: One that ranks the top 10 countries in terms of global e-commerce sales forecasted for 2021.

That report earlier this month from the editors at eMarketer/Insider Intelligence shows China at the top — or taking the gold, if you will — with 52.1% of total worldwide e-commerce sales share for 2021, with the United States bedecked in silver at 19% share and the United Kingdom draped in bronze at 4.8%.

The same editors didn’t halt competition with those international rankings, though: Focusing specifically on the USA, eMarketer/Insider Intelligence released another report last week ranking the top 15 companies in the country in terms of retail e-commerce sales growth, also forecasted for 2021.

That U.S. competition in the retail arena features crafts-and-vintage retailer Etsy with a Cinderella-like win, taking the gold with 26.9% e-commerce sales growth — and nudging out the likes of Walmart (26.4%), pet-friendly Chewy (25%), Amazon (24.9%) and Costco (21.7%) in the top five.

China’s Prowess in International E-Commerce Field

Both the size and buying power of consumers in China remain key factors in its 52.1% share of e-commerce sales, the eMarketer editors said.

They noted: “Asia-Pacific is by far the largest market for retail e-commerce with digital sales amounting to nearly $2.992 trillion in 2021. This year, digital retail sales there will be more than three times greater than in North America and nearly five times greater than in Western Europe.”

Though a distant second among countries in e-commerce sales, the U.S. nonetheless still will near the $1-trillion mark with such sales in 2021, eMarketer said.

The fastest-growing country in e-commerce sales, meanwhile, will be India.

“Although India’s total retail sales growth dropped dramatically in 2020, e-commerce is soaring,” eMarketer said. “We expect digital sales to leap 27.0% this year, as more retailers launch or expand their online stores. That will lift the country to eighth place in the annual retail e-commerce sales table.”

Pandemic Boosted E-Commerce in the USA Rankings

In projecting the top 15 companies for e-commerce sales growth in 2021, that eMarketer report said eight of them will outpace the country’s overall growth rate, which is anticipated to be 17.9% for the year. The rankings are based on the gross value of services sold on the website of each company, via browser or app.

“Most of these eight retailers have one thing in common: They capitalized on pandemic-induced spending on home improvement, online grocery, and pet care while offering consumers convenient fulfillment options, great prices, or both,” eMarketer said.

Following Etsy, Walmart, Chewy, Amazon and Costco in the top five in the report were Apple, Wayfair, The Home Depot, Kroger and Macy’s in sixth through 10th places, respectively, and Target, Lowe’s, eBay, the Qurate Retail Group and Best Buy in 11th through 15th places.

“Together,” eMarketer said, “these 15 companies will account for 72.3% of e-commerce sales in the U.S. this year, up 10.5 percentage points from 2019, largely due to growth seen by Amazon and Walmart.”

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