What makes a country ripe for eCommerce expansion? There are the obvious macroeconomic conditions and consumer market size, but really, it’s more than that. For firms to understand the 360-degree view of a region’s online retail readiness, factors such as consumer payment behavior, courier infrastructure, and disposable income must also be considered. And that’s what Forrester’s latest retail study set out to do — called the Forrester Readiness Index, this study examines the 360-degree retail environment and opportunity across 55 global markets. While it’s likely no surprise the US snags the No. 1 readiness spot, followed by China, Japan, South Korea, and the UK, the examination of developing regions revealed Central European countries to be strong contenders for eCommerce expansion among developing regions.

For instance, did you know that Poland has a larger retail opportunity than Brazil, with 35% online buyer penetration compared to just 14% in Brazil? What’s more, Polish consumers are showing a growing appetite for online activity — with 31% year-over-year growth in the number of Facebook users — and 9% of businesses have already taken their products online. Of course, these retail markets are only a fraction of the size of colossal ones like China or India, but the 360-degree view reveals that this often overlooked region is worth consideration among developing eCommerce regions.

Returning to the big eCommerce players, the US tops the list for readiness with its retail market size, economic wealth, and an engaged online population. Japan shows the most similarities in readiness — sharing the latter two characteristics. Accounting for 7% of the world’s total retail sales, Japan has a tech-savvy population, high retail sales per capita, and an affinity for credit/debit card ownership (at approximately 6.2 cards per person, compared to 6.0 in the US) that demonstrate its consumption power and online presence — model foundations for online shopping.

Learn more about Forrester Readiness Index: 2013 eCommerce Global Study here. In addition, Forecast Analyst Susan Huynh blogs on key findings.