E-commerce: An industry that thrived globally through the pandemic
E-commerce started in the early 1970s in the US and has become a global revolution with the IT boom in the 21st century. E-commerce quickly became popular across demographics and social structures, achieving market penetration and expanding across continents, embodying the soul of globalization like never before.
The year 2020 was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses all over the globe closed their doors, and the global economy shrunk. Consumers were faced with strict quarantine measures globally as an effort to control the spread of the virus, and consumers turned to e-commerce for their shopping needs. The shift to online shopping enabled e-commerce to continue its growth trajectory, reaching a sales volume of US$ 4.3 trillion despite the economic turmoil.
The eMarketer and Insider Intelligence report defines e-commerce as selling products and services online, regardless of the payment and fulfillment method. Their study excluded online travel, event tickets, bills payment, taxes, money transfers, food services, and gambling. E-commerce growth statistics in the years leading up to 2020 looked promising with new markets opening up & efforts being made to develop the logistic infrastructure required to support cross-border buying & selling.
Asia-Pacific is currently the biggest e-commerce market globally, with more than half (63%) of the worldwide retail e-commerce sales come from Asia-Pacific, and this is all thanks to colossal transaction volume coming from China, estimated at around US$ 2 trillion. North America and Western Europe are the next big markets for e-commerce. These were also the regions that went into a total lockdown early on in 2020, further prompting a spike leading to the rapid growth of e-commerce in 2020.
The report also forecasted that e-commerce growth would decelerate this year. With the release of vaccines and more efficient methods of controlling the pandemic, there will be a rebound on traditional brick-and-mortar selling.
E-commerce has a lot more to offer in the coming years
Even though industry experts suggest a downward trend in the projected growth statistics for e-commerce in the coming years, things look promising for all key stakeholders. With new territories to explore and the large untapped market potential of growing economies around the world, the industry still has a lot to offer.
In the next blog feature, we will explore the different business models in the e-commerce landscape and dissect how the industry functions across the world.