Global retail e-commerce sales rose to $4.4 trillion in 2023, up from $1.3 trillion in 2014. In short, that means 20% of global retail sales are now online. By 2028, Forrester forecasts that global retail e-commerce sales will grow to $6.8 trillion and capture 24% of global retail sales. Physical stores will continue to play a significant role: $21.9 trillion of the $28.7 trillion in worldwide retail sales in 2028 will still happen offline.

Although widespread store closures and social distancing during the pandemic turbocharged e-commerce growth, recent years saw a growth reversal as consumers flocked back to physical stores. Looking ahead at 2024 and beyond, we expect that online sales will regain momentum from shopping offers and generative AI initiatives. Global e-commerce sales will be driven by:

  • New and mature channels. The rise of online marketplaces, social commerce, online grocery buying, click-and-collect services, quick commerce, livestream selling, and direct-to-consumer commerce will significantly boost online retail sales.
  • Shopper e-commerce maturity. Advanced economies like South Korea, the UK, and the US lead the way due to high internet penetration and digital literacy. Emerging markets are rapidly catching up, driven by widespread smartphone adoption, mobile commerce, and youthful populations. Marketplaces like Allegro, Flipkart, Lazada, Mercado Libre, and Shopee expand access to developing economies.
  • Innovative payment solutions. Digital wallets and account-to-account (A2A) transfers are revolutionizing the global e-commerce landscape by enabling seamless, secure, and convenient cashless transactions. Digital wallets offer quick, secure purchases with integrated loyalty programs, while A2A transfers provide lower-cost, fast, and secure direct bank transactions.

Our newly published Global Retail E-Commerce Forecast, 2024 To 2028 report provides historical data going back to 2014 and a five-year forecast of total, online, and offline retail sales in local currencies and US dollars for 40 countries that capture 88% of global GDP.


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