Expand into the United States: the global ecommerce superpower

Few global ecommerce markets hold the stature and potential quite like the United States of America.

After all, it’s where the concept of the American Dream has long fueled the ambitions of entrepreneurs, creating a unique environment of opportunity and innovation.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, ecommerce sales in the United States reached an all-time record of $324.82 billion, as reported by Digital Commerce 360 analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This article will explore everything online sellers need to know before tapping into the American ecommerce superpower.


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USA in numbers

Renowned as a global economic powerhouse, the world’s largest economy, and a leader in cross-border ecommerce, the USA has substantially influenced the digital marketplace landscape. After all, it is where such giants as Amazon and eBay were born.

The GDP of the United States is expected to increase steadily over the next decade from $26.24 trillion in 2023 to $39.23 trillion in 2033.

With a population of 333 million people, the USA boasts an impressive internet penetration rate of 91.8%, making it a true mecca for online shopping.

There are ca. 218.8 million online shoppers in the US as of 2023, each spending an average of $5,381 per person.

Most important stats and facts:

  • Population: 333 million
  • GDP: $26 trillion, est. to reach 39 trillion in 2033
  • Internet penetration: 91.8%
  • Number of active Internet users: 312.09 million
  • Active social media users: 302.35 million
  • Number of online shoppers: 218.8 million

The US marketplace landscape 

The B2C ecommerce market in the United States is expected to grow steadily, recording a CAGR of 6.30% during 2023-2027. The country’s B2C ecommerce GMV will increase from $1,593.0 billion in 2022 to reach $2,182.1 billion by 2027.

Amazon is undisputedly the dominant retail ecommerce platform in the US. The marketplace giant was responsible for about 44.9% of ecommerce sales in the United States in the second quarter of 2022.

amazon net sales 2022For many American consumers, Amazon is a go-to online retailer. Some shoppers visit the platform immediately when searching for a product without using traditional search engines. In fact, over 60% of product searches start off on Amazon rather than Google (20% only). It is not surprising that 89% of consumers are more likely to buy products from Amazon than from other ecommerce sites.

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Understanding the consumer shopping journey is an invaluable source of knowledge that can boost your conversion rates on an unprecedented scale.

American consumer habits and behavior

With a staggering 70% of US consumers having shopped online from abroad over the past year, it’s evident that the allure of global markets is a driving force in their purchasing decisions.

American consumers are known for being picky. They will think twice about product quality, composition, and pricing, which leaves a place for international brands and products to win their shopping hearts over.

Top 3 reasons American consumers decide to buy abroad?

  1. Cheaper prices (49%)
  2. Ability to obtain brands that aren’t available in the US (43%)
  3. Unique or specialty products that aren’t found in the US (35%)

It’s also worth noting that the leading category for cross-border shopping last year was clothing and apparel.leading product categories for cross border online shoppers in united states

Cross-border challenges: distribution

Navigating the cross-border landscape might present some challenges for companies seeking successful expansion into the US market.

Amidst these challenges, devising a streamlined cross-border distribution strategy is crucial. The vast expanse of the US, coupled with varying regulations across different states, might pose some logistical complexities.

Some factors you should take into consideration are:

  • Local legislation compliance
  • Import/trade restrictions
  • Shipping and fulfillment
  • Tax & duties
  • Listing localization
  • Paperwork such as form types etc.

Managing it all demands a keen understanding of international trade regulations.

Make sure to stay informed and compliant, or simply leave it to the pros. Experienced third-party solution providers can provide efficient, cost-effective, and timely shipping solutions while also addressing customs procedures, import taxes, and duties.

united states quick facts online sellersConclusion: Expansion into the United States

Venturing into the United States can be a strategic move for your online business. With its thriving digital landscape and immense consumer base, the US is a compelling destination for marketplace sellers seeking to expand their horizons.

As you embark on this journey, remember to meticulously plan it with the help of ecommerce tools and platforms at your disposal.

Establish strong partnerships, acquaint yourself with local regulations, and foster a deep understanding of your target audience.

To seize the opportunity of the American Dream:

  • Keep a keen eye on consumer trends and preferences.
  • Tailor your approach to resonate with the diverse American audience.
  • Align your brand values with the aspirations of the US market.

Remember that while the United States is indeed a global economic superpower, the real power lies within your own dedication, strategy, and ability to conquer American consumers.

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