Businesses of all sizes are moving to the online space for better, more attainable reach and easier customer access. If you’re looking to transition your business to an exclusively online presence, now’s the time to do it.
However, before moving your business online, it’s important to fully understand the online business climate, including its size, scope, and challenges.
To help with that, here are 11 of the most important online shopping trends statistics you need to know for 2023 and beyond.
Let’s jump right in.
1. The number of online shoppers in the US continues its upward trend and will reach 289.9 million by 2027 (Source)
This represents a 5.53% increase from today’s 274.72 million, and a significant jump from 234.82 just five years ago, and it includes all types of online shoppers.
As emerging technologies continue to shape the present state and future of retail, e-commerce will continue to replace the traditional retail ecosystem. What’s really pushing this trend forward is companies and stores that deal in both retail and wholesale moving online at a rapid pace, with newer companies embracing internet-first or exclusively online sales.
For many consumers, visiting a brick-and-mortar store is simply less convenient than shopping online. Particularly after years of pandemic-related restrictions drove more stores and consumers to embrace online shopping, it’s reasonable to expect online shoppers to eventually eclipse traditional buyers in every market and every capacity.
2. The global e-commerce market size will grow to $62.4 trillion by 2030 (Source)
This would be an increase from $26.7 trillion in 2022, at a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% during the forecast period of 2023-2030. While growth in North America has been tremendous, the Asia-Pacific region is the global leader in total retail sales by volume.
India in particular has commanded an increasingly larger share of the global e-commerce market. With major e-commerce chains such as Amazon recognizing that the most populous country in the world offers significant business opportunities, this share has the potential to grow even bigger.
Europe is seeing the third largest market growth, not far behind North America. Meanwhile, Latin America is keeping pace with the Middle East and Africa, while maintaining a smaller market share, to round out the top five.
The e-commerce boom of 2020 was a clear indicator of things to come in terms of market growth. However, it’s interesting to note that while brick-and-mortar establishments have reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic and are back to business as usual, online shopping has maintained its hold as part of the new “usual.”
3. Total worldwide retail sales will reach a record $29.3 trillion in 2023 (Source)
The rising trend of online shopping sales follows a global increase in retail sales. And while growth in overall retail sales has been dropping since 2021 it seems to be leveling off.
Up from $28.2 trillion in 2022, the 2023 figure continues a steady increase from recent years, while its 3.9% growth rate continues the sharp downward trend since the pandemic. However, the growth rate is projected to increase in 2024 to 4.3% before dropping to 3.7% in 2025 and again to 3.4% in 2026. However, these decreases are slight compared to the freefall of 2021-2023.
Note that the graphic above excludes travel and event tickets, payments including bills, taxes, or money transfers, food services and drinking place sales, restaurant sales, gambling and other vice goods sales.
If we examine similar trends, such as e-commerce representing a rising percentage of total retail sales (discussed in statistic #5 on this list), we see that 2020 was where e-commerce really took off. The pandemic and related restrictions was a clear contributor to this. Likewise, tech companies and even retailers designing new systems and technology to better facilitate online sales have streamlined the online shopping experience like never before.
4. Global retail sales will reach $32.76 trillion by 2026 (Source)
This will be an increase from $26.37 trillion in 2021 and a leap from a forecasted $29.29 trillion by the end of 2023. That represents an 11.4% growth factor over the three years between 2023 and 2026, and a 22% growth factor from 2021 to 2026. This includes the fairly large drop in growth from 2021 to 2023.
Despite the ups and downs, the sector appears to be going strong. The eMarketer report forecasts that overall global retail sales will continue to rise for both online shopping and brick-and-mortar establishments.
5. E-commerce sales reached nearly 19% of total retail sales in 2022 (Source)
The Statista report estimates that e-commerce sales will reach nearly a quarter of global retail sales by 2027. Since retail sales command a giant portion of all daily transactions worldwide, this represents a truly massive number when put into context.
After taking a leap in 2020 when the pandemic drove people to stay home and order online, and staying relatively the same for 2021 and 2022, the sales share of online retail is projected to grow at a stable rate until 2027.
6. Mobile e-commerce is worth nearly $2.2 trillion globally in 2023 (Source)
The Statista report also projects global mobile e-commerce to reach an estimated worth of $3.4 trillion by 2027. That forecasted amount would be a massive increase from $982 billion a decade earlier.
This continues the trend of formerly brick-and-mortar commerce moving online at a rapid pace, with evolving payment technology and AI-based shopping assistance becoming the norm.
Mobile e-commerce has experienced some of the most progressive growth of any business sector due to global expansion. It’s also growing in conjunction with the share of all e-commerce, with mobile shopping surpassing traditional e-commerce to gain the majority share of online business.
With the expansion and evolution of natural language algorithms and advanced transaction and payment technology to ease the checkout process, companies may soon be able to automate a considerable amount of their e-commerce operations. If this happens, we’ll likely see a rapid increase in businesses of all sizes and industries rush to increase their online presence.
7. Mobile e-commerce makes up 60% of global e-commerce in 2023 (Source)
According to the Statista report, mobile e-commerce comprises 60% of all online purchases in 2023. This represents a steady and almost consistent single-digit increase from 57% in 2020 to a projected 62% in 2027.
What’s also interesting about the massive online e-commerce shift is an increasingly mobile-first buying and selling policy form both vendors and buyers. Mobile has previously been the portable accompaniment to the traditional desktop-based online purchase. That’s not the case anymore, with mobile taking over as the primary shopping medium for buyers.
That comes as no surprise, since smartphone technology has reached a point where entire businesses can be run on a mobile phone. Developing digital markets such as India and the greater Asia-Pacific region are another reason for the growth. With rapid internet adoption comes a proportional growth in online business, including e-commerce.
8. Retail transactions that include chatbots will reach $112 billion in 2023 at a massive 98% CAGR
This represents an annual growth rate of 98%, as chatbot-involved retail purchases generated a relatively minimal $7.3 billion in 2019.
Chatbots have historically served as customer service tools with a few built-in responses to generic inquiries. However, improved AI-powered chatbots have completely transformed how the tools work and the ways customers can interact with them.
Today, companies are implementing unique customer-facing capabilities into chatbots that not only help locate specific products, but also provide end-to-end shopping assistance.
Chatbots may never completely replace human shopping and customer service reps. However, it’s obvious that as AI becomes smarter and more proficient in natural language processing, companies may look to integrate it more extensively into their daily customer-facing functionality.
9. In 2023, the US has the highest share of customers who do most of their shopping online, at 43% (Source)
We’ve seen major retail businesses prioritizing online stores over a physical location, and it’s no surprise why: a large portion of shoppers worldwide prefer to visit virtual stores. However, shoppers in numerous countries still prefer to do most of their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
In Austria and New Zealand, in-store shopping has the largest advantage over online shopping when it comes to customer preferences. Shoppers in Austria who responded to the survey voted 38% for in-store shopping vs. 23% for online shopping. In New Zealand, the percentages were 39% for shopping in a physical store vs. 25% for shopping online.
In Ireland, 35% of shoppers would rather visit a store vs. 32% who would rather shop online. The percentages are the same for Australia. In Portugal, 36% of consumers would rather walk into a store while 29% prefer to shop from the comfort of their home. Meanwhile, 32% of Norwegian consumers would rather shop the traditional way vs. 27% of shoppers who would rather browse and make purchases over the internet.
In Finland, the victor is in-store shopping with 35% of respondents citing it as their preference, with 28% opting for online shopping.
Shoppers in the Netherlands are tied in their preferences at 29%, while 34% of consumers in Belgium would rather physically visit a store and 27% would prefer to shop via mobile device or computer. France and Poland saw in-store shopping win by just one percentage point.
Apart from the United States, countries where shoppers prefer online shopping include the UK (35% vs. 26%), Germany (33% vs. 25%), Sweden (35% vs. 25%), Italy (37% vs. 25%), and Spain (32% vs. 30%).
There are three possible reasons why so many consumers in the US prefer online shopping while consumers in many countries still prefer to shop in a store:
- Consumer culture in the US is more evolved than in some countries, and Americans simply buy in greater volume. While the online shopping phenomenon has taken over most of the developed world, most of the world’s biggest e-commerce chains are based in the US. So the culture of buying over the internet is simply more prevalent.
- The convenience factor, especially in a country as big as the US where cities are built to favor automobiles. For many Americans, making a purchase is not as simple as exiting their home and walking to a corner store or nearby grocery or department store. While traditional retail is still a giant industry in the US, it’s simply more convenient to order online than to drive to Walmart.
- Some countries have a culture that’s more hands-on in terms of buying and selling. That can be easier in a country that’s comparatively smaller where people that have closer cultural ties with the products they use and people they purchase from.
Regardless, e-commerce has already exceeded in-store shopping in many parts of the world, and we may one day see most brick-and-mortar stores being used as warehouses and storage for otherwise fully online businesses.
10. The number of Etsy sellers is still soaring, but was slightly lower in 2022 than the year before
Following the massive spike in active Etsy sellers during the pandemic, peaking in 2021 at 7.5 million sellers, 2022 saw a relatively slight decline to 7.47 million. For context, there were 96 million active Etsy buyers worldwide, and the C2C e-commerce platform enjoyed an annual gross merchandise sales volume (GMV) of close to $13.5 billion in 2021, following a total of $10.3 in sales in 2020.
Etsy sellers are located in 234 countries, while the majority are based in the US. While the platform was previously considered an online cottage industry marketplace, today it’s an established business avenue for entrepreneurs.
The Statista report found that 71% of individual sellers consider their Etsy shop their primary business. While it may not be a typical e-commerce platform, Etsy offers consumers with a taste for handmade and vintage products an excellent alternative to mass-produced goods from a standard e-commerce store.
11. Online shopping cart abandonment rate reached 79.53% in 2023 (Source)
This is lower than SaleCycle’s 2021 findings of 81.08%, and lower still than their reported 2020 rate of 84.27%. But it’s an increase from the 2018 findings of 75.60%.
Shopping cart abandonment is a persistent issue that’s especially prevalent in e-commerce. This affects all e-commerce businesses, from retailers like Shopify to sales over social media apps and any other platform where online consumers shop.
Rather than having to physically return all products to their shelves or stash a physical shopping cart somewhere in a brick-and-mortar store, online shoppers can simply not enter their credit card or PayPal information.
Research by Baymard found that the leading cause of cart abandonment at checkout was shipping-related issues at 60%. A further 37% of shoppers who didn’t complete a purchase in the past three months said it was because they didn’t want to set up an account. For 28% of shoppers who abandoned carts, it was due to a complicated checkout process.
Other responses included a lack of favorable payment methods or declined credit cards.
What Online Shopping Trends Statistics Show Us
There are three major takeaways from the online shopping statistics and trends we discussed:
- Any business that is looking to expand would be better served by expanding its online operations as opposed to physical ones, as shopping behavior is favoring online sales in major markets like the US and UK.
- Mobile e-commerce is the key place to invest time and resources.
- It’s not too late to start an online-first business, but with more and more players of all sizes saturating the market in almost every industry, the time to go online is now.
AI and chatbots will make all the difference in terms of customer service. The sooner businesses are able to leverage existing tech and integrate it, the further ahead of the curve they’ll be as newer iterations of this tech rolls out.
While it may be impossible to replace the human element in commerce, recent technological developments have proven that many aspects of e-commerce function better under the control of AI. However, the buyers will, at least for the most part, be human.