In the past, we’ve asked e-commerce professionals to give us their predictions on the future growth of e-commerce. By looking five years in the future, we can actually see a reflection of current attitudes. For example if people are bullish on the future of drone delivery, they will respond favorably to their future.
2021 vs 2022 E-Commerce Total Sales Predictions
Taking a look at past surveys, we can see noticeable differences in respondents from the 2021 survey to the 2022 survey. In 2016, most people thought e-commerce would account for 10-20% of the the total market share by 2021. Few thought it would account for more than 30% and almost no one thought it would amount to less than 10%. This is very telling of reasonable, expected growth.
Survey takers in 2017 were far more bullish of e-commerce sweeping up to 30% and beyond of total retail sales. Over 60% of survey takers thought e-commerce would carve out this large piece of the pie by 2022. Interestingly even though almost no one thought this in 2016, almost 4% of survey takers thought e-commerce would stagnate or fall to under 10%.
What are the actual numbers telling us, though? The reality is e-commerce is steadily growing. When you remove fuel sales, automobile sales, and sales at restaurants and bars - (those overwhelmingly dependent on physical POS) - e-commerce accounted for 10.5% of total retail sales in 2015. This share grew to 11.6% in 2016, 12.9% in 2017, and 14.3% in 2018.
Percentage of E-Commerce Growth
While the actual share of total retail sales taken by e-commerce has continued to grow, the percentage of e-commerce growth over itself in the past few years has generally plateaued to a range of 14-16%. This growth is reflected in the U.S. e-commerce sales themselves. In 2016, e-commerce sales were $394Bn. The continued growth was followed by $453Bn in 2017 and, in 2018, sales crossed the half trillion mark. If the economy continues on the same course, there’s nothing to suggest U.S. e-commerce sales will grow more than 15% every year.
Current growth trends don’t seem to indicate e-commerce accounting for 30% of total sales by 2022. It’s much more in line with respondents to the 2021 survey. So what made people so bullish in 2017? Perhaps it’s the continued reports of store closures? Maybe it’s simply personal biases of lives lived nearly entirely through e-commerce? Most major metropolitans nowadays allow for someone to live nearly entirely outside of brick and mortar stores, save for aforementioned gas stations, restaurants and bars. Or maybe they really do see a coming wave of e-commerce adoption and shift in the retail space.
Now’s your opportunity to let your predictions be heard and take the 2023 Future of E-Commerce of Survey. Tell us where you think retail sales will be in five years and more.
Click the link to take the survey now: https://forms.gle/icJhnZJ3nHBtggT77