If you are an e-commerce business owner, you have to remember that your market is worldwide. You aren’t necessarily limited to the people who can reach a brick-and-mortar store on foot—instead, you can market your products and services to people around the globe.
Of course, you should still target specific markets by country or region. That way, you can deliver locally popular and desired products to target audiences. Some markets are certainly better than others in terms of popularity, population, or profitability.
Today, let’s break down some of the countries with the best markets for e-commerce businesses like yours.
It should be no surprise that China has the world’s biggest e-commerce market. Although it was recently surpassed by India in terms of population and is now the second most populous country, marking it as a great place to acquire new customers for your brand.
But there’s another big reason why you should consider expanding into China: e-commerce subsidiary dominance. E-commerce companies like Alibaba.com, Tmall, and Taobao rake in billions of dollars in profits each year because Chinese individuals love to shop online.
China has an annual growth rate of about 22%, so it’s one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets overall. Get some market share in China, and your brand will be set up for success for years to come.
🇺🇸 United States
E-commerce in the United States has the second largest e-commerce market overall, this by not having nearly as many potential customers as China or India.
But the United States is still a massive market for e-commerce brands because it ruled the e-commerce marketplace for several decades. Giant e-commerce companies like Amazon and eBay are based here, and most transactions on these platforms still occur in the US.
At the time of this writing, the US has enjoyed very healthy e-commerce growth across all major sectors. It’s also a major country for e-commerce trends and innovations, so it’s unlikely that this market will change at any point in the near future. The United States’ consumer base is also responsible for nearly 15% of the total retail shares across the e-commerce sector. Bottom line: try to do business in the US e-commerce market at the earliest opportunity.
India is the currently most populous country in the world, having recently surpassed China in this metric. It’s also home to one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets overall. Many retailers have joined the online shopping industry in this country—as of 2021, India has seen all digital sales increase by about 27%, totaling annual online sales numbers of around $70 billion.
While Indian customers are still not responsible for a majority of e-commerce sales, that could change quickly over the next few years. Expanding your brand into India could set your company up for long-term success, particularly if you manage to cultivate a loyal customer base in this country.
Japan is a major player in the e-commerce sphere. Technically, it’s the leading country in m-commerce(mobile commerce), which is arguably the future of e-commerce overall. The leading e-commerce platform in Japan, Rakuten, is especially popular, and it has acquired many other e-commerce sites since its inception.
Indeed, even though Japan is only responsible for 3% of total retail sales in e-commerce business, it’s still a good market to target. The Japanese economy is heavily integrated into the worldwide market, as seen from the fact that the Japanese Yen is one of the most popular traded forex currency pairs as of last year.
If you sell products that are popular among Japanese citizens, you can expect consistent profits for a long time to come. Furthermore, you may be able to strike deals with shipping companies or dropshipping suppliers in Japan for lower prices compared to Western countries.
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
You can’t forget the United Kingdom. The UK might be a small country, but it’s a major player in the e-commerce scene. Major sites like Amazon UK, eBay UK, and Asos are some of the most popular and trafficked e-commerce websites in the UK.
Its collective population has one of the highest total retail sales percentages in the e-commerce arena. United Kingdom citizens love to purchase things online, and odds are you should be able to sell many of the same things here as you can sell in the US. If most of your customers come from the US or the UK, you ought to be able to quickly expand your brand to the other country, too, due to cultural similarities and the same level of average wealth per person in both nations.
🇰🇷 South Korea
Then there’s South Korea, the country with the fastest overall wireless Internet per person. It’s also one of the most profitable countries for e-commerce businesses, featuring major brands and companies such as Gmarket and Coupang.
Furthermore, South Korea is also looking to move into the m-commerce sector, similar to Japan. Therefore, if you want your brand to target people who purchase things on their phones, expanding into both Japan and South Korea could be a wise idea.
Be aware, of course, that if you market heavily in Asia, you’ll need to adjust your marketing materials to resonate with these audience members, such as changing your call-to-action, website design, etc.
Germany is home to the second-largest e-commerce market in Europe, particularly because of Amazon. Indeed, many German online shoppers love to purchase products on Amazon, as well as use other popular sites in the US, like eBay. Don’t forget the local online retailer Otta: arguably another major e-commerce platform in Germany.
Annual online sales here routinely reach nearly $100 billion, making Germany a great place to do business and cultivate new, loyal customers. Especially when combined with other European customers, it’s more than possible for your brand to become massively profitable across the continent by basing its marketing in Germany or, as seen below, France.
Expanding your brand to France could see you enjoy major profitable benefits. Local e-commerce players, such as Veepee and Cdiscount, enable French shoppers to get products online for great prices. Even better, Amazon has recently overtaken many local brands to become the number one e-commerce platform in France overall. If you already have an Amazon-based business, therefore, expanding into France should be relatively achievable.
As you can see, there are plenty of places around the world to do business. Consider expanding your customer base into some of these countries soon if you haven’t already. If you need help, you can rely on CS-Cart: top-tier marketplace software that can help you build up a new e-commerce marketplace from scratch. Check it out today.
Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart. He's passionate about creating content that explains complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.