Ecommerce in the USA: US flag

Selling online in the USA [infographic & useful fact sheet]

Selling on the US ecommerce market is a great option for growth-minded marketplace sellers.

On the one hand, the USA is a mature marketplace whose growth may possibly slow down in the coming years. On the other hand, America’s market size, purchasing power and advanced technologies make it an ecommerce hotspot.

Read about:

  • Facts about the US marketplace: online buyer behavior, popular categories, logistics, delivery & shipping, online payment methods and cross-border shopping
  • Benefits of selling your product online in the USA
  • Finally: check out our comprehensive infographic at the end of the article.

Download “Ecommerce in the USA: useful fact sheet & infographic” for easier reading and sharing with coworkers. Sell (more) online in the USA!

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The USA has the world’s largest economy and one of the world’s largest consumer markets with high Internet penetration. It’s the birthplace of ecommerce giants such as eBay and Amazon. The USA is also a global leader when it comes to cross-border ecommerce exports and imports.

US ecommerce: facts & numbers

  • Population: 332,915,073
  • Language: English
  • Currency: US dollar
  • Internet users: 312,320,000
  • Internet penetration: 96.26%
  • Internet growth 2000-2020: 328%
  • Smartphone penetration: 79.1%
  • Digital shoppers: 230.5 million
  • Projected ecommerce revenue increase by 2025: 563.4 billion dollars
  • Digital commerce growth (Q1 2021, USA): 45%
  • Conversion rate: 3.1%
  • Shopper spend (the per-visit average amount spent by shoppers): USD 3.44
  • Average Order Value (AOV, the order amount spent by the shopper): USD 100.27

usa digital commerce growth

The USA: top ecommerce platforms / websites

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Walmart
  • Etsy
  • Home Depot.

The USA: popular ecommerce categories

  • Books, music & video
  • Computer & consumer electronics
  • Toys & hobby
  • Apparel & accessories
  • Office equipment & supplies.

Ecommerce in the USA: online buyer behaviour

The USA is populated by savvy, internationally-minded consumers. Customer satisfaction and confidence levels are relatively high in the USA, but so are customer expectations.

The heaviest consumption takes place over the holiday season and on the days of the year when US businesses offer big sales deals, e.g. Black Friday or Cyber Monday. These are the times when you can sell much more than during the rest of the year.

The chart below illustrates changes in shopper spend in the USA quarter by quarter between Q4 2018 and Q4 2020.

usa ecommerce shopper spend

To a large extent, the USA is similar to European marketplaces in terms of consumer behavior. However, there are cultural differences to consider, e.g. when it comes to everyday business interactions with Americans.

Cultural differences in ecommerce: example
If you come from a European country, let’s say Germany, you may be used to a very formal communication tone in a professional setting. In contrast, Americans gravitate towards a more casual approach.

Finally, remember that American English differs from British English, for example in terms of spelling and sometimes product name. This will have an effect, for example on the keywords that you should use in your listings, e.g. trousers (UK) vs. pants (US), trainers (UK) vs. sneakers (US).

Ecommerce in the USA: logistics, delivery, shipping & payment methods

The USA is a large country that boasts high-performance rail networks, highway connections and air-traffic systems. Its well-developed logistics market has strategic centres in excellent locations.

As American consumers tend to be more impatient than those in other countries, most US retailers offer free, and increasingly same-day, delivery options. However, the US market is much bigger geographically than the UK, for instance, so next-day delivery is not as commonplace as in Britain.

The vast majority of US consumers are more likely to make a purchase when free shipping is included. Consumers are also more willing to buy products when there’s an option of free returns and exchanges.

The USA: top shipping carriers used by ecommerce companies

  • UPS
  • US Postal Service
  • FedEx
  • Self-collection / click & collect
  • DHL.

The USA: top payment methods for digital purchases

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Digital payments.

It’s important to provide your (potential) customers with payment methods of their preference.

Ecommerce in the USA: mobile commerce

The USA is ahead of other countries in terms of mobile commerce. Mobile is becoming the ultimate ecommerce device: it’s used for researching, connecting with sellers and purchasing.

Check the charts below to better understand USA traffic and order growth as well as traffic share by device.

usa ecommerce order traffic growth

usa ecommerce traffic order share

It’s evident from the charts that shopping from a mobile device is fuelling the growth of ecommerce in the USA. Thus, ensuring great mobile buying experience should be on online sellers’ priority lists.

Cross-border shopping in the USA & international ecommerce sales potential

The USA is one of the largest cross-border B2C ecommerce markets when it comes to both exports and imports. The most intensive B2C ecommerce trade between the USA and the UK is the result of the common linguistic background.

As to cross border shopping, US online consumers buy mostly from the UK, China, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia. Many US online sellers sell to international online shoppers, often focusing on those based in Europe.

Selling in the USA is worth considering: a well thought out international sales strategy should help you overcome the initial hurdle of translating and localizing your listings.

Benefits of selling your product online in the USA

  • English language, which also attracts international buyers
  • Size and maturity of the market
  • The market’s sales potential and leading position
  • Access to a large number of online shoppers
  • Online savvy, internationally-minded consumers
  • Well-developed infrastructure
  • Advanced payment culture
  • Quick technology adoption among the US population
  • A large number of marketing and communication opportunities, e.g. via social media or apps
  • Leader in cross-border ecommerce exports and imports.

Ecommerce in the USA: infographic

usa ecommerce infographic

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Ecommerce in the USA

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