Worldwide retail sales to top $22 trillion in 2014

Surprisingly, less than 6% of total sales will be made online

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 23, 2014
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We've already seen some record setting retail days this holiday season, with both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday both topping $1 billion each. This year's Cyber Monday became the largest single shopping day in history and the first ever to break the $2 billion marker. Meanwhile, in China, this year's Singles Day brought in an incredible $9.3 billion

What that is going to translate to is a new high for global retail sales.

Worldwide retail sales are expected to bring in a total of $22.492 trillion in 2014 , according to a new report out from eMarketer on Tuesday. That include both online sales and those from brick and mortar stores.

That number is expected to hit over $25 trillion by 2016, and over $28 trillion by the year 2018.

Since we are a tech site, obviously we are more interested in the e-commerce angle; how much will it bring in, and what percentage will that be? The answer is not as high as you might think.

In 2014 e-commerce will see $1.316 trillion in sales, or only 5.9% of the total worldwide retail market. That number will jump to 8.8% by 2018, or $2.5 trillion, but that's still a pretty small part compared to the overall numbers.

Of course, different markets will have different percentages of online sales. The United States, for example, is still clinging to the old brick and mortar stores. While 63% of the US population will make a digital purchase this year, only 6.5% of retail sales in the United States are expected to be made on the Internet, reaching only 8.9% by 2018.

"In other words, a majority of US consumers are making purchases online, but more than $10 out of every $11 are still spent in stores," said eMarketer.

China and the United Kingdom, though, have jumped on the e-commerce train. In the U.K., for example., 73% will make an online purchase in 2014, and e-commerce will account for 13.0% of total retail sales, the most of any country. And in China will have 10% of its retail purchases occur online, but only 27.5% will make such a purchase. What this means is that while not many buy online, those who do buy a lot. The country will see over $1 trillion in retail e-commerce sales by 2018, accounting for more than 40% of the total worldwide.

In terms of overall retail sales, China and the U.S. reign supreme, with the U.S. keeping its position as the second-largest retail eecommerce market through 2018, for a total of nearly $500 billion that year. Comparatively, the U.K. will only have fourth of that number,

China and the U.S. will combine for more than 55% of global Internet retail sales in 2014.

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