Retail sales worldwide, including in-store and online, will reach $22 trillion this year. And by 2018, the market will reach more than $28 trillion, a 5.5 percent increase.
According to eMarketer's first-ever global retail forecast, looking at sales in 22 countries, e-commerce will account for 5.9 percent of the total retail market this year, or $1.316 trillion. By 2018, that share will increase to 8.8 percent.
The study found that China and the United States combined account for more than 55 percent of global online sales in 2014. China's growth over the next five years will widen the gap, accounting for more than 40 percent of e-commerce sales by 2018. But the United States will remain the second-largest e-commerce market in 2018, totaling almost $500 billion that year, while the U.K. will account for one-quarter of that figure.
About 63 percent of the U.S. population will make a digital purchase in 2015 yet only about 6 percent of retail sales are expected to come from internet transactions, meaning while a majority of Americans are making purchases online, $10 out of every $11 are still spent in physical stores.
Conversely, Chinese consumers who buy online, do it often, as 27.5 percent of the population will make a purchase online this year and sales will total a tenth of all retail purchases.
Online shopping in China is booming and taking away from in-store sales for many retailers. For example, last year Suning, China's biggest retail chain, generated about $17 billion over the course of the year. E-commerce giant Alibaba made almost half that in its Tmall in just one day, Singles Day. A host of retailers are now trying to get a piece of the growing Chinese e-commerce market including brands such as Gilt, Costco (NASDAQ:COSTCO), ShopRunner, Ikea and Zara.
-See this eMarketer article
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