10 significant ecommerce statistics you need to know in 2022

These 10 ecommerce stats will help eBay, Amazon and other online sellers identify how to sell successfully in 2022 and beyond.

Not everything that worked in ecommerce in 2021 will bring (extra) sales in the future. Some tactics, however, that worked well at the time of COVID-19 and lockdowns, may work even better in 2022.

In this article you’ll find:

  • Significant ecommerce statistics & trends for 2022
  • Actionable recommendations to take your business to the next level.

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Click the links below to go directly to the ecommerce statistics of your interest:

#1: Global B2B ecommerce market size expands at a rate of 18.7%
#2: Online retail sales’ share of total retail sales increases from 16% to 19% due to COVID-19
#3: Digital ad spend accelerated 49%
#4: 70% of online buyers purchase from foreign sites
#5: 96% of small businesses on eBay export to an average of 17 countries
#6: 48% of online shoppers go straight to a large ecommerce marketplace
#7: 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process
#8: The global AI market is to reach a $190.61 billion market value in 2025
#9: For 8 out of 10 consumers, sustainability is important when making purchasing decisions
#10: 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping

Ecommerce statistics 2022

Whether you sell on eBay, Amazon or other marketplaces, it’s important that you keep track of the latest ecommerce statistics and trends. The fast changing ecommerce industry as well as world transforming events and phenomena, such as Brexit or coronavirus, can have a big impact on global ecommerce.

For this reason, staying one step ahead of what’s happening today is essential.

The following stats and data will tell you more about the impact of COVID-19 on global ecommerce, changing online buying habits, international sales, ecommerce advertising, worldwide shipping, AI and sustainability in ecommerce and much more.

Let’s dig in.

#1 ecommerce stat: global B2B ecommerce market size expands at a rate of 18.7%

  • The global B2B ecommerce market size was valued at USD 6.64 trillion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.7% from 2021 to 2028 (Grand View Research).
  • Global online sales are forecast to reach 22% of all retail sales in 2023 (vs. 14.1% in 2019, Statista).
  • Retail ecommerce market sales worldwide will reach $6.54 trillion in 2023 (vs. $3.53 trillion in 2019, Statista).
  • By 2040, 95% of retail purchases are likely to be made online and traditional retail may be hardly existent (Nasdaq).

ecommerce sales global 2014 2023

With online shopping overtaking traditional retail, ecommerce is booming on a global scale. The growing number of online marketplaces, buyers and cross-border purchases stimulate the market’s growth.

According to Mike Bishop, CEO at Webinterpret:

Online Cross Border Trade is growing faster than the overall ecommerce market and this trend is forecast to continue.

#2 ecommerce stat: online retail sales’ share of total retail sales increases from 16% to 19% due to COVID-19

  • The rise in ecommerce amid movement restrictions induced by COVID-19 increased online retail sales’ share of total retail sales from 16% to 19% in 2020 (UNCTAD).
  • The average items per order increased by 60% during COVID-19 (Contact Pigeon).
  • 43% of shoppers now feel more positive about shopping online; almost 40% of consumers report that they’re more comfortable with digital technology than before lockdown (Wunderman Thompson Commerce).

The impact of COVID-19 on online sales has been evident since the start of the pandemic, for example in Italy.

coronavirus ecommerce sales italy

The coronavirus outbreak has fueled the growth of ecommerce and order value. Moving shopping in many categories to online, e.g. home furnishings, is likely to continue in 2022. Further, more shoppers are purchasing products from previously unheard-of brands and feel more comfortable with digital technology.

ecommerce coronavirus home gardening

The pandemic is not what we’ve prayed for, but the reality is that it’s a good time to widen your audience and potentially your product offer.

Furthermore, as gifting is on the rise, you can use this opportunity to generate extra sales, especially around big dates and holidays, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. You can offer shoppers the option to personalize products or add a gift card. Consider upselling, cross-selling, and product bundling.

Practical example. Instead of offering coffee mugs only, offer to personalize them and/or offer a bundle that includes coffee and gift wrap with a X% discount.

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#3 ecommerce stat: digital ad spend accelerated 49%

  • The pandemic boost in ecommerce sales accelerated growth in US ecommerce channel advertising to 49.8% (eMarketer).
  • Digital ad spend accelerated 49% in the first half of 2021 to hit £10.5bn (The Drum).
  • According to Amazon, 76% of Amazon shoppers use the search bar to find an item, and search advertising is a way for brands to stand out among the competition.

Today being first in organic results on popular marketplaces, such as eBay or Amazon, may not give the best results. Due to the prominence of paid ads, the first organic result may not appear until the middle of the page, or even closer to the bottom!

For instance, on eBay in popular categories, over 50% of the first page of search results can be sponsored products. This includes the first 5 search results that are getting the most clicks.

ecommerce ebay sponsored products

All the same, there are many benefits of ecommerce advertising. Ads on marketplaces positively impact product page views, transactions and revenue. In general, they’re very effective for a short boost in sales.

However, an effective long-term advertising strategy is a completely different thing. Sometimes sellers must put in more advertising effort, another time products can sell relatively easily with no (excessive) ad spend.

Advertising, to a large extent, is about striking a balance between investing money and getting results.

This usually requires advertising knowledge and experience, e.g. a good understanding of the specifics of a given market or the demand and competition dynamics. Unfortunately, many sellers aren’t familiar with how advertising on specific platforms works. This way they can lose both paid and organic traffic.

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#4 ecommerce stat: 70% of online buyers purchase from foreign sites

  • 70% of online buyers already purchase from foreign sites (eMarketer).
  • Almost half of US shoppers buy items cross-border (Pitney Bowes).
  • Almost 1/4 of all ecommerce orders are predicted to be cross-border commerce by the year 2022.

According to eMarketer, 80% of retailers worldwide agree that cross-border trade has been profitable or that sellers have successfully increased sales as much as 1,000% after expanding their marketplace presence.

Cross border ecommerce on the increase

International ecommerce expansion is especially effective when paid marketing campaigns reach a plateau in the seller’s domestic/current market. Increasing CPCs further to grow traffic can decrease campaign clicks, sales and the overall profitability.

In such situations less competitive markets can offer lower CPCs and better return on advertising spend.

ecommerce cpc international markets

Additionally, the possibility of satisfying the unmet demand abroad is one of the biggest worldwide opportunities for marketplace sellers. On Amazon and eBay you can sell on markets with more sales potential and less competition.

It’s also worth adding that during challenging times, such as the current pandemic, selling on international markets often allows sellers to plan and balance the sales between markets, spread their risk and make the most of diversification.

The lockdown and social distancing usually encourage additional populations to purchase online. However, consumer behavior related to cross-border ecommerce imports differs depending on the stage of the pandemic in each market.

If the country is within the peak of the outbreak, a slowdown of cross-border imports can be expected. It’s important for international merchants to try to minimize potential shipping delays and keep their clients informed. Reliable parcel tracking tools and simple return options should also help in reassuring buyers.

#5 ecommerce stat: 96% of small businesses on eBay export to an average of 17 countries

  • 96% of small businesses using eBay in the USA export to an average of 17 countries (eBay).
  • 6 out of 10 eBay entrepreneurs sell to customers across at least 4 continents. By comparison, 1% of traditional businesses in the USA sell to an average of 4 countries.

With cross-border ecommerce on the rise, eBay sellers that can strategically introduce their products on international markets have an excellent opportunity to expand their customer reach.

It’s worth considering foreign markets where local online sellers aren’t able to offer specific products or meet the local demand. For example, Italy shows a lack of dynamism in the local offering and many products have to be imported from abroad, e.g. clothes from foreign brands or vehicle parts for cars.

#6 ecommerce stat: 48% of online shoppers go straight to a large ecommerce marketplace

  • 48% of online shoppers go straight to a large ecommerce marketplace (Oberlo, 2021).
  • Only 6% of B2B buyers don’t currently use online marketplaces.
  • 75% of B2B procurement spending is projected to take place via online marketplaces over the next 5 years.
  • 84% of online shoppers won’t buy from an ecommerce site that is not secure (WHSR, 2021).

Many consumers don’t start with Google or retail websites when they want to purchase products, but with marketplaces.

Selling on online marketplaces has many benefits. Above all, online shoppers are flocking to marketplaces like eBay, Amazon or Walmart to do their shopping, compare prices or start their purchase journey.

Additionally, one of the most common concerns of shoppers buying from independent websites and unknown brands is the lack of trust at the moment of completing the purchase and entering payment details.

The reality is that people are more likely to buy from sellers looking like legitimate retailers who sell on established marketplaces. This way, online store owners can automatically benefit from the platform’s own brand-building.

Finally, B2B ecommerce sales through websites and online marketplaces are accelerating. According to Gartner, the enterprise marketplace is a new business model that:

  • Has new capabilities
  • Creates wider ecosystems
  • Allows brands to attract new audiences and generate new sources of revenue.

Marketplaces serve as a one-stop-shop for B2B buyers, being more efficient in time and cost.

#7 ecommerce stat: 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process

  • Prior to 2020, the B2B audience was made up of baby boomers and members of Generation X. For example, Gen X and Baby Boomers comprised the largest demographic on eBay, with 32% of the site’s buyers aged 35 to 49 and 29% aged 50 to 64.
  • Today, 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process.

Reaching Generation Z and millennials will become increasingly important in the future as their purchasing power continues to grow in the coming years.

However, don’t forget older customers who are feeling more and more comfortable shopping online. Interestingly, it’s not only due to the pandemic, but also technology becoming more intuitive and easier to use.

When creating your marketing campaigns for people over 50 years old, remember you’re reaching those people who’d previously shopped in-store. Thus, consider offering discounts on products your older customers tend to buy.

#8 ecommerce stat: the global AI market is to reach a $190.61 billion market value in 2025

  • The global Artificial Intelligence (AI) market is predicted to reach a $190.61 billion market value in 2025.
  • The forecasted AI annual growth rate is 33.2% (between 2020 and 2027).
  • 80% of retail executives expect their retail companies to adopt AI-powered intelligent automation by 2027.
  • 51% of ecommerce players have implemented automation technologies across sales, marketing and customer service teams to ensure a seamless user experience for customers.

Today Artificial Intelligence and automation play a massive role in transforming global ecommerce, especially when it comes to improving customer experience and selling internationally. For example, Natural Language Processing (NLP), a branch of AI, is the driving force behind language translation apps, such as Google Translate, and ecommerce translation solutions.

Also, Webinterpret’s AI-based, ecommerce-optimized translation system uses innovative NLP technology that allows machines to analyze product data. The goal is to establish context in order to achieve the best adapted translations and thus maximize chances of selling a product on specific international markets.

Such ecommerce-optimized machine translation differs from standard machine translation as it’s built and trained specifically for ecommerce products in the ecommerce context.

#9 ecommerce stat: for 8 out of 10 consumers, sustainability is important when making purchasing decisions

  • 52% of online shoppers claim to choose to purchase from one online store over another if its environmental impact of the delivery is lower.
  • 79% of millennials say that flexibility in delivery is important to them and they’re more likely to choose alternative delivery options such as weekend delivery or CO2-neutral delivery.

According to IBM’s “Meet the 2020 consumers driving change” report:

  • For 8 out of 10 consumers, sustainability is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
  • 6 out of 10 consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact.
  • Most respondents would pay an average premium of 35% for an environmentally responsible brand.

In light of our planet’s finite resources, consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the need for sustainability. In fact, the pandemic has deepened consumers’ environmental concerns.

As more and more buyers are looking for products and brands that align with their eco-friendly values, retail is going green.

Additionally, endeavours to limit high levels of pollution created by the freight industry is likely to have a pretty big impact on the ecommerce sector.

To gain eco-conscious customers’ loyalty, sellers should strive to create more sustainable & greener practices for their businesses, for example by:

  • Giving customers a green shipping option at checkout
  • Using eco-friendly shipping practices and partners
  • Using sustainable, reusable packaging
  • Choosing boxes that are correctly sized for specific products (avoid redundant packaging)
  • Consolidating orders from the same user into one package
  • Offering environmentally-friendly products.

#10 ecommerce stat: 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping

  • 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping (Deloitte).
  • 75% of shoppers expect free shipping even on orders under $50 (NRF, 2019).
  • 65% of shoppers say they check free shipping thresholds before adding more items to their online cart (NRF, 2019).
  • The no.1 reason why people shop online is to make use of the free shipping option offered by ecommerce stores (Oberlo, 2020).
  • The average shopping cart abandonment rate approximates 70%. Shipping fees and other extra costs are the main reason why shoppers decide not to finalize the purchase online (Baymard Institute).

online sales free shipping 2

Free shipping can be the ultimate sales maker at the final stages in the online purchase decision process. “Free” is a powerful notion: we tend to overvalue many things that come for free, considering it a good deal.

However, not all sellers can afford to offer free shipping, especially if they sell internationally. For this reason, many international online sellers will be better off having local fulfilment centres, close to the buyers.

Practical example. If you’re a British online merchant trading in the US, keep part of your stock in the US, close to your US customers. This will lower your shipping costs, but will also shorten delivery times and increase customer satisfaction.

About Webinterpret

Webinterpret supports merchants selling on big, international ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon as well as more local marketplaces, such as Allegro or Cdiscount.

Our marketplace offer is constantly expanding so if you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts. They will help you analyze your international sales potential and choose markets that will offer you the best possible return on investment.

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