Given that the internet is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to send information long distances, it’s no surprise that people made retail websites to take advantage of this new technology. However, you can only see how far it has come by looking at some online shopping statistics.
- Global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $5.5 trillion in 2022.17
- Around 76% of U.S. adults shop online.4
- Over half of consumers prefer shopping in a physical store.4
- Smartphones are slowly becoming the preferred way to order online.1
The e-commerce industry and online shopping effectively cover all purchases that are made over the internet. Between stores moving online, third-party marketplaces and increasing internet access across the world, these online sales have become worth trillions each year.1
Stores have always tracked sales data, where their revenue comes from, and customer trends, so it makes sense that companies also watch similar e-commerce trends now that they’re worth so much. Luckily, many of these statistics are available for free, so we’ve collected 24 of the most interesting ones here.
02/16/2022 Facts checked by Eugenie TiuSources verified.
Updated article statistics to ensure all of the information was up-to-date.
In the U.S., just over 13% of total value traded is done online, when accounting for seasonal changes.
In the U.S., around 18% of adults say they shop online at least once a week, compared to 57% who say they shop online less than once a month. The PwC found that in December 2021, 55% of Americans shopped in-store at least once a week, so it’s clear that the vast majority are still choosing to shop in-store rather than online for their more regular purchases.
24 Online Shopping Statistics
When you’re online, companies are constantly collecting data about you — you can read up on some data privacy statistics to find out more about this. Obviously, this isn’t great for individual privacy, but it does mean that there are plenty of interesting statistics to go through, so we’ll jump straight in to look at how e-commerce has grown and how much it might grow in the future.
Online Shopping Statistics: The Scale of Online Shopping
Without a doubt, online shopping is widespread and pretty big, so these first six statistics will go into the true scale of how many people are online and how much money is spent on these sites.
1. How Big Is Online Shopping?
The year 2021 saw annual retail e-commerce sales pass $4.9 trillion worldwide, and eMarketer predicts it will grow to over $5.5 trillion by the end of 2022.17 That’s more than the GDP of Germany (approximately $4.2 trillion in 2021) and Japan (approximately $5.1 trillion in 2021).
Worldwide E-commerce Sales, in Trillions
2. How Many People Are Shopping Online?
In 2021 there will be around 2.14 billion unique online shoppers around the world.2 This means that over a quarter of the global population are internet users with access to at least one e-commerce site, and they’ve decided to make at least one purchase online.
Taking into consideration that only 60% of the world population has access to the internet,15 that means just under half the world population with an internet connection use it to shop online.
3. How Big Is Online Shopping in the U.S.?
E-commerce revenue in the U.S. passed the $400 billion mark for the first time in 2020, reaching $431.6 billion. This is about a 20% increase from the total revenue in 2019, which was $360.1 billion.3
4. How Much Will Online Shopping Grow?
Although we can’t know for sure how much online buyers will spend in the future, Statista predicts that retail e-commerce revenue will pass the $500 billion mark in 2022. It’s also estimated that, by 2025, online shops will generate about $563.4 billion in revenue.3
5. How Many Americans Are Shopping Online?
Given the high value of all retail e-commerce sales, it may come as no surprise that — even in 2018 — Marist Poll found that 76% of U.S. adults were online shoppers. Of this 76% of U.S. adults, 62% were considered regular online shoppers — people who buy something online more often than once a month.4
6. How Often Are Americans Online?
If you want to buy something online, you have to use the internet. However, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center study, 7% of U.S. adults never go online, and are therefore unable to access an online store.5
On the other hand, 85% of respondents said they went online at least once per day, with 31% saying they were almost constantly online. Although this doesn’t guarantee they’ll use online stores, it does mean that most Americans have the potential to become online shoppers at some point.
Shopping Online vs in-Store Statistics
Although online shopping seems to be the future, these next statistics show that many people still like going into a store to see physical goods.
7. How Often Do People Shop Online?
Online retail stores often make it easier to buy things individually, as you don’t have to go out of your way to get to the shops and many sites offer free shipping. However, the IPC surveyed people across 40 countries and found that only 22% of respondents shopped online every week. Instead, most people shopped online once every two weeks (27%) or once a month (29%). 18
This 2021 IPC survey also found that 74% of people thought that more of their domestic purchases would be done online in the future. In contrast, only 5% thought that this would go down.
8. Do People Prefer to Shop in-Store?
The 2018 Marist Poll study found that 56% of Americans prefer shopping in a physical store than online, if everything is equal. However, being able to shop at any time (64%), to find the item easily (62%) and to save time (61%) were all major reasons that could lead to people choosing to shop online.4
On the other hand, the BigCommerce and PayPal 2021 consumer spending report found that only 54.5% of Americans preferred shopping in person, and 12.2% didn’t care either way. This could just be a temporary drop, but if the trend continues, online shopping could quickly become America’s preferred way to shop.6
Reasons Americans Prefer to Shop Online
9. How Does E-Commerce Compare to Traditional Sales?
A census by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that in the third quarter of 2021, online retailers made up 12.4% of total retail sales in terms of value, or 13% when accounting for seasonal variations.7
This is lower than the 13.8% of adjusted sales that occurred online in the third quarter of 2020. However, online shopping saw a boost of 36.3% between the third quarters of 2019 and 2020 — likely due to the Covid-19 pandemic — and the total sales only just started to increase at the beginning of 2021 as lockdown restrictions eased and offline business began picking up again.
Special Online Shopping: Pandemic & Holiday Season
There are certain events that cause a spike in shopping, in-general: the holiday season, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some statistics related to these shopping events.
10. How Much Does Shopping Increase in the Holiday Season?
According to the 2021 holiday shopping report by Adobe, November and December saw Americans spend $204 billion online — a total of 8.6% more than in 2020. Although this is the most ever spent in the holiday period, it’s also the smallest year-over-year growth since Adobe began recording it in 2014. 15
11. How Big Is Black Friday & Cyber Monday For Online Shopping?
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday were still two of the biggest days for online shopping in 2021, both shrank compared to 2020. Falling by 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively, Black Friday saw just $8.9 billion and Cyber Monday saw $10.75 billion in total U.S. sales.
Over the “Cyber 5” days, only Thanksgiving saw positive growth in 2021. With $5.1 billion in sales, it grew 0.5% from 2020. This is still a smaller total than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but this could change if Thanksgiving becomes a more popular day for online shopping in the future.15
Online Shopping Amounts 2020 vs 2021, in Billions
12. How Covid-19 Affected Shopping
Due to the WHO classifying Covid-19 as a pandemic in March and the subsequent lockdowns and stay at home orders that came out, the first quarter of 2020 was mostly normal for online shopping. The U.S. Department of Commerce found just 14% growth between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020 — similar to the average growth of 14.1% between each quarter of 2018 and 2019.
However, between the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, e-commerce saw growth of between 32% and 43.8% — over double what would normally be expected. This calmed down to a modest 9.1% growth between the second quarter of 2020 and 2021, but it still represents a lasting change boosting e-commerce over physical stores. 17
Online Shopping Statistics: Cart Abandonment
It’s easy to leave a website and abandon your cart, and these statistics show how common it is and why people do it.
13. How Common Is Cart Abandonment?
Although many studies have been done on cart abandonment, they often yield widely different results depending on when they were run and the populations they looked at. In late 2021, Baymard looked at 46 different articles, and found an average cart abandonment rate just shy of 70%.8
14. Why Do People Abandon Online Carts?
The 2021 Baymard study also looked at the reasons U.S. adults abandoned their carts. After removing the 58.6% who said they were just browsing and weren’t looking to buy, nearly half of Americans (49%) who had abandoned their carts did so because the extra costs — things like shipping and taxes — were too high.8
This study also found that the requirement to make an account (24%), lengthy delivery time (19%) and a complicated checkout process (18%) were all major reasons that potential customers went somewhere else.
Top Reasons for Cart Abandonment in the U.S.
Online Shopping Statistics: The Impact of Third-Party Marketplaces
Some of the largest and most well-known sites are marketplaces where other companies can sell their goods. These next statistics look at how big these marketplaces can get and which ones are the most popular.
15. How Important Are Third-Party Marketplaces?
When looking for goods online, it’s often easier to go through an e-commerce market. These are sites that other companies can use to sell their products and online shoppers can use to search for and compare different options.
The 2021 online marketplace report by Digital Commerce found that sales on the top 100 platforms accounted for 62.7% of the money spent online in 2020, which is slightly higher than the 60.1% in the year before.9
16. What’s the Most Popular Online Marketplace?
When looking at the top 100 e-commerce marketplaces, three companies made up 62.6% of all marketplace income and 39.1% of global e-commerce. These were Amazon, Taobao and Tmall — the latter two being sites owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba.9
17. How Many People Are Using Online Marketplaces?
In April 2021, 92% of U.S. consumers shopping online used a marketplace. Much of this shopping was done on major e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, at 74% and 48%, respectively.9
However, not all purchases were made on these large markets — 42% of online consumers said they had made a purchase on a niche marketplace. This is up significantly from 29% in 2020, which is promising for these smaller and more specific platforms.
U.S. Consumers Who Used a Marketplace for Online Shopping
How Online Shoppers Use Different Devices
Shopping on your phone is often just as easy as on a desktop, and these statistics show how common it is to use different devices and how people shop differently on each device.
18. What Is the Average Order Value?
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Salesforce found that on an average visit to an e-commerce site, American shoppers spend $4. This is significantly higher than the average across the 54 countries studied, which was just $3.14 per visit.
The average value per order in the U.S. was around $115.32. This is still above the average of the countries studied, which was $103.42, but below the average in the U.S. from the previous quarter, which was $115.91.10
19. How Do Other Devices Compare to Desktop Orders?
Salesforce found that desktop orders made up only 27% of traffic and 39% of orders in the fourth quarter of 2021. At the same time, mobile orders made up 58% of orders and 71% of traffic to e-commerce sites.
On the other hand, tablets had a reasonable average order of $101.30 in 2020 — just above mobile devices — but fell behind in 2021. As the value of average sales between 2020 and 2021 grew 37% on desktop and 41% on mobile, they dropped by 0.12% to just $101.18 on tablets.10
20. How Many People Use a Smartphone to Shop?
A December 2021 survey by the PwC found that 41% of online shoppers use their smartphone to make purchases either daily or weekly. This is up from 39% in June 2021, but it means that there’s still room for sales on smartphones to grow.
This was lower in the U.S., where only 36% used their smartphone to shop at least once a week. On the other hand, shopping on a smartphone was more common in China and India, where the numbers were as high as 61% and 53%, respectively.19
21. How Many Sales Are Made on Smartphones?
According to the ADEI, 40% of online retail sales in the U.S. were made through a smartphone in the first quarter of 2021 — up from 36% in the same period of 2020. These are impressive numbers for mobile e-commerce, but the majority of online purchases are still being made from other devices, like desktop computers and laptops.1
However, this isn’t the case for all countries. For example, the U.K. had almost half of all online sales made through mobile phones. It also found that many Japanese consumers preferred to use a phone, with 61% of all sales being made on mobile devices.1
The Importance of Reviews and Social Media in Online Shopping
Most online shops have some kind of review system and some social media sites are even large enough to become shops. These statistics show just how much other people’s opinions and reviews affect our purchases.
22. Are Reviews Important?
According to a 2021 Bizrate survey on customer reviews, only 8.7% of online shoppers will typically buy something without reading any reviews. On the other hand, more than half of respondents said they will read at least four reviews before making a purchase.11
However, while most consumers will only read a handful of reviews, 38% said they would only trust something with over 50 reviews. Just 12.9% of respondents said the number of reviews didn’t matter.11
23. Are Sponsored Reviews Important?
The Bizrate survey also found that only 32.7% didn’t trust sponsored reviews. This means that, depending on the specific influencer and review, 67.3% of people had at least some trust in products after a sponsor review. However, as only 6.1% said they completely trust these reviews, they’re often better for increasing awareness for new customers.11
Percentage of Shoppers That Trust Online Reviews
24. How Often Do People Buy From Social Media?
The eMarketer e-commerce survey from May 2021 asked people if they had bought something through social media and found that 48% of people had made a purchase via social media in the last 12 months. The study also showed that 56% of buyers made their purchases through links to external sites.
Of the major social networks, Facebook was the most popular for social commerce. This was probably because 88% of adults surveyed use it — more than any other social media platform. However, the dedicated Facebook Marketplace is also likely to have caused this.12
Final Thoughts: Online Shopping Statistics
E-commerce is a big industry, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Hopefully these online shopping statistics have made it easier to grasp consumer acceptance of online shopping and what’s important to customers.
If these kinds of facts and statistics articles interest you, check out our articles on cloud computing statistics, online gaming statistics and VPN statistics to learn more about these complex aspects of the internet.
Have you bought anything from an online store before? Did any of these statistics interest you? Were there any facts we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.
- Adobe Digital Economy Index
- eMarketer – Worldwide retail e-commerce sales
- eMarketer – How the pandemic will effect sales
- Marist Poll – Digital Economy Poll
- Pew Research – How often U.S. adults are online
- BigCommerce – Consumer spending trends 2021
- U.S. Census – Quarterly retail e-commerce sales
- Baymard – Cart abandonment rates
- Digital Commerce – Online marketplace report 2021
- Salesforce – Shopping Index
- Bizrate – Shopper Survey Report
- eMarketer – Social commerce usage
- Statista – E-commerce statistics
- Data Reportal – 2022 Global Report
- Adobe – 2021 Holiday Shopping Season Review
- U.S. Census – Adjusted e-commerce sales over time
- eMarketer – Global e-commerce forcast
- IPC – Cross border shopper survey 2021
- PwC – Consumer insights survey November 2021