Global retail sales set to reach $24 trillion in 2015

5th Jan 2015

Global retail sales will top $24 trillion (£14tn) in 2015, according to statistics from eMarketer.

The data, which tracked in-store and ecommerce sales in 22 countries over the last two years in order to deliver its four-year forecast, also found total retail sales had reached $22 trillion in 2014, an increase of 6.1% on 2013 and a figure that eclipses the size of the US national debt.

While the ecommerce market has grown exponentially over the last two years, online retail still only accounts for roughly 5.9% of total sales or $1.316 trillion.

And while that figure is expected to increase to 8.8% ($2.5 trillion) by 2018, it still remains a fraction of overall sales, and may yet provide the clearest evidence that ecommerce is not about to kill the high street any time soon.

China and the US provide the world’s biggest ecommerce markets, with their combined sales totalling more than 55% of the world’s online retail sales in 2014.   

China’s continuing growth over the coming 4 years means Chinese ecommerce sales will exceed $1 trillion by 2018, more than 40% of the global total. The US is expected to remain second with online sales totalling nearly $500 billion that year, while the UK will account for about one-quarter of that figure as the third biggest global ecommerce spender.

Despite being dwarfed by total online spending in China and the US, nearly 77% of the UK's population will make a purchase online in 2018, according to eMarketer’s figures.  

Ecommerce is expected to account for 18% of total retail sales in the UK by 2018 – leading all countries by this metric – the reason the UK has the third largest retail sales across different nations, despite being only eighth-largest in bricks-and-mortar retail sales.


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