International opportunities abound for leading internet retailers

Retail ecommerce remains a fairly small part of total retail right now, but because it is a fast-growing part, it is increasingly accounting for a larger share. Just a year ago, we were looking at a mid-single digit share, but this year, eMarketer thinks that share will be a tenth of global retail sales.

Ecommerce sales in Asia will account for 14.7% of total retail sales, with China contributing more than half, followed by Japan with slowing growth rates and then India, which will be the fastest growing. Volumes will double by 2021.

This year, ecommerce will account for only 8.8% of total retail sales in Western Europe, but grow to 11.4% by 2021. Germany is the top retail market but the UK the leading ecommerce region.

A global discussion is important for the sector because the Internet continues to melt away national barriers, making it ever easier to target overseas customers through established platforms.

So the social buying behavior of the Chinese and their increasing preference for luxury brands is relevant for U.S. players, as is Alibaba’s growing dominance in Asia. The Indian opportunity is also not to be ignored, as witnessed in Alibaba’s recent investments, Amazon’s aggressive growth plans and Walmart’s acquisition of a controlling stake in leading local player Flipkart.

A closer look at these markets shows a bigger, more mature and sophisticated Chinese market and a faster-growing Indian market offering greater scope for innovation.

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