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Global e-commerce sales up 22 per cent in 2018

Global e-commerce sales in 2018 were up 22.5 per cent from 2017. The top 10 retailers accounted for 14.6 per cent of all global e-commerce sales. Three of the top 10 global online retailers ranked by 2018 e-commerce sales were web-only merchants. Their online revenue also significantly contributed to bumping up 2018’s e-commerce penetration. As web sales rise without an accompanying uptick in offline sales, online’s share of total retail sales grows.

Collectively, revenues of Amazon, JD and Vipshop Holdings in 2018 were up 22.2 per cent from 2017. As online revenue continues to grow each year, larger gains are necessary to achieve the same level of growth, so some deceleration makes sense. E-commerce penetration has steadily been on the rise—with online’s share of retail spend registering 10.5 per cent in 2016, rising to 12.3 per cent in 2017 and closing out 2018 at 14.4 per cent. The momentum is expected to continue in 2019, with penetration north of 16 per cent. Global retail sales through all channels are likely to increase 3.4 per cent by the end of the year. This would increase online’s share of total retail sales to 16.4 per cent and e-commerce would account for more than three-quarters of overall retail gains.