Ecommerce as an industry is now two decades old, and booming. In 2013, global ecommerce sales topped USD 1.25 trillion. Sales are forecast to hit USD 1.5 trillion by the end of 2014.
But the engines driving global ecommerce are shifting gear. Established markets are witnessing a growth downturn, while emerging markets are now taking centre stage. In North America and Western and Central Europe, online business growth is tailing off where saturation points are being reached. For the first time, China outstripped the US in ecommerce sales, a trend largely driven by mobile commerce.
However, the 2014 survey indicates a reluctance by Western merchants to tackle the emerging markets in the East. It revealed the majority prefer to drive growth via markets in which language and culture are similar to their own. This opinion is corroborated by the large flow of cross-border ecommerce occurring between the US and the UK, countries united by similar language and cultural preferences.
This is despite recent government trade initiatives, such as the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, to open up China to cross-border ecommerce import and export. With more Asian consumers buying online, largely thanks to mobile commerce, opportunities in this region are now in abundance while competition, as it stands today, is relatively limited.
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