Expand into the United States: the global ecommerce superpower

The United States of America is associated with friendly, happy people: they are confident, go-getting and aware of their freedoms. The American Dream has become a synonym for opportunity, equality and success. Just as America is the land of opportunity, so is the world of eCommerce.

The USA has the world’s largest economy and is the world leader when it comes to cross-border eCommerce exports and imports. It is the birthplace of eCommerce giants, such as Amazon and eBay.

us online marketplace 200x300

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What is the US marketplace like?

US e-commerce sales still lead the Western world with a projected USD 349 billion of annual revenue.

In 2013, 75.8% of the population were shopping online and the US is the world’s largest consumer market. In 2015, according to A.T. Kearney’s global e-commerce index, the US has overtaken China.

The US marketplace can be associated with:

  • The English language
  • High Internet penetration
  • The size
  • Technology
  • Challenges such as the country size, the variety of landscape, yhe uneven concentrations of population
  • Preferred online payment methods are credit/debit or gift cards, followed by PayPal, cash/cheque, bank transfer and prepaid cards
  • Complex tax system
  • Savvy, internationally minded American consumers who know how to shop online
  • Advanced mobile commerce
  • A challenging foreign market to enter.

Find out more about all the factors named above in our all-inclusive guidebook!

Online sales: basic facts

  • B2C e-commerce sales in the North American region accounted for 34.9% of global B2C sales in 2013.
  • Retail e-commerce sales in the US amounted to over USD 305 billion in 2014, and by 2019, are projected to grow to USD 548 billion.
  • As to cross-border shopping, there over 34 million American online shoppers who mostly buy from the UK (49%), China (39%), Canada (34%), Hong Kong (20%) and Australia (18%).


The most popular retail categories in the US:

  • Apparel & Footwear
  • Media products
  • Electronics and Books.

Popular cross-border purchases among US shoppers:

  • Clothes & Accessories
  • Health & Beauty
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Personal/Home Electronics

Shipping: Cross-Border shipping challenges

Cross-Border shipping challenges relate to:

  • Security
  • Economic, e.g.  e.g. the impact of the recession
  • Regulatory, e.g. paperwork, legislation, import/trade restrictions.

Find out more about the challenges named above in our all-inclusive guidebook!

Buying behaviour: Present & Future

How are products ordered?

  • 69% from computers
  • 13% from tablets
  • 18% from phones

US traffic 300x180

Source: Demandware

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Other sources

United States of America. Cross-Border Ecommerce Report. Critical Facts and Insights for International Expansion. The Paypers. 2014.
Destination USA. A great opportunity for European online retailers. Asendia.

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