Asia hits the e-commerce fast track
February 10, 2015 12:40 PM
As a region, no other part of the globe has as big a combined e-commerce market as Asia. Asia-region web sales are two times greater than the United States and Europe as separate global e-commerce markets, and it is growing twice as fast as the United States. In addition, the Asian market is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing and biggest online retailing companies, according to Internet Retailer’s newly published 2015 Asia 500, a ranking of the 500 top web merchants from across Asia and the Pacific Rim.
The Asian market grew 36% to an Internet Retailer-estimated $615.07 billion in 2014. In comparison, Internet Retailer estimates U.S. e-commerce sales grew 16% last year, reaching $304.39 billion in 2014, while European e-commerce grew 15% to $316.90 billion.
Overall, the combined sales for the retailers ranked in the Asia 500 grew to $139.2 billion in 2014, an increase of 57.1%. But while Asia as a region is the world’s biggest e-commerce market, it essentially is a collection of national markets, each with its own language, currency and culture, and varying degrees of e-commerce market and infrastructure development. On a national basis, e-commerce growth rates also vary significantly from China—which is the world’s biggest national e-commerce market with sales that increased 48.8% to $449.1 billion in 2014—to Australia where the year-over-year growth in web sales was 9% to $14 billion.
The key for U.S. and other non-Asian online retailers to sell successfully in this growing market is to develop localized e-commerce strategies for each market, according to analysis of data contained in the 2015 Asia 500.
For example, consider Wal-Mart Asia, No. 8 in the Asia 500, and the second biggest U.S. merchant ranked in the publication behind Amazon.com (No. 4). Wal-Mart Asia grew its collective sales in Asia 23.1% to an Internet Retailer-estimated $2.34 billion thanks in large part to its differing strategies for the distinct Asian national markets.
In China, where Wal-Mart owns 51% of mass merchant and web grocer Yihaodian.com, the world’s largest retailer is helping Yihaodian.com expand the site’s online inventory to more than 3.4 million products, open more regional distributions centers, introduce more Western brands and launch product segments such as over-the-counter drugs. The efforts helped Yihaodian.com grow e-commerce revenue 21% to an estimated $2.3 billion last year. “Accelerating e-commerce growth is a key priority and growth will depend on innovation and driving grocery home shopping,” says Wal-Mart International CEO David Cheesewright.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Wal-Mart late last year announced plans to expand the fulfillment capacity of, and invest in e-commerce initiatives for, Seiyu GK, a Japanese grocery chain and web merchant it acquired in 2008. Seiyu, founded in 1946 and one of Japan’s oldest grocery and general merchandise retail chains, says it will expand its online grocery operation at Seiyu.com over the next three years and offer more home delivery. Within three years, Seiyu, which operates 373 stores across Japan and is headquartered in Tokyo, expects to offer online grocery delivery throughout the sprawling Tokyo metropolitan area.
The 2015 Asia 500 provides detailed metrics, ranking and analysis on Asia’s largest and most prolific web merchants including:
- A cover story analyzing how successful web merchants of all sizes are developing national e-commerce initiatives that meet the needs of local shoppers in China, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere.
- A feature story examining the size of China’s e-commerce market, how it is growing and which Chinese web merchants are building lasting brands.
- Key data points such as Top 10 retailers in web sales by country, e-retailers with the biggest dollar growth, 10 fastest-growing e-retailers by country, Top 25 merchants ranked by merchant type, fastest-growing merchants by merchant type and Asia 500 web merchants ranked by principal market.
- Extensive parent company and URL indexes.
Order your copy of the all-new 2015 Asia 500 in online database format or digital edition.