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A.T. Kearney: U.S. tops in e-commerce opportunity


NEW YORK — The United States is the top market for e-commerce, followed by China and the United Kingdom, according to A.T. Kearney’s 2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Index. Although e-commerce remains less than 10% of total retail sales in the United Sates, it has seen consistent growth, and rose by 15% in 2014.


The Index ranks the top 30 countries for e-commerce based on nine variables, including select macroeconomic factors as well as those that examine consumer adoption of technology, shopping behaviors, infrastructure, and retail-specific activities. It is designed to help retailers devise successful global online retail strategies and identify market investment opportunities while understanding the tradeoffs and barriers to success.


Globally, online sales increased more than 20% in 2014 to almost $840 billion, as online retailers continued expanding to new geographies and physical retailers entered new markets through e-commerce. One of the biggest expressions of the boom, according to the report, was in the stock markets, which gave e-commerce companies skyrocketing valuations, highlighted by Alibaba’s record-setting $25 billion initial public offering in September, which valued the China-based company at about $170 billion.


In other report findings:


• The Asia Pacific e-commerce market continues to grow — soon it will be the world’s largest region in terms of online sales — but many Asian countries declined in this year’s Index, with China, the previous leader, losing its top billing to the United States. Although China’s e-commerce market continues to expand, its rate of growth has slowed down. And a large part of its future growth will be driven by tier 3 and tier 4 cities, where there are questions about infrastructure investment, logistics support (a key to retail e-commerce growth), and consumer spending.


• In Europe, the United Kingdom (3rd), Germany (5th), and France (6th) all move up one spot in the Index, while Belgium (a 15-spot rise to 9th place), Denmark (up 13 spots to 15th) and Spain (entering the rankings in 18th) have posted impressive progress.


• In Latin America, while Mexico jumps into the rankings at 17th place, Brazil and Argentina fall steeply in the Index, due to their slowing macroeconomics. Fundamental infrastructure challenges – logistics and transportation in Brazil, government regulations in Argentina – may hinder e-commerce growth in the future.


• The report identifies four overarching themes that color this year’s Index findings as they relate to business strategy, customers, and channels: Internationalization; the rise of e-commerce IPOs; the continuously connected consumer; and the need for omnichannel strategies.


The top 10 countries in the Index were:


1. United States

2. China

3. United Kingdom

4. Japan

5. Germany

6. France

7. South Korea

8. Russia

9. Belgium

10. Australia


Click here to read the full 2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Report.

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