Top Countries Referring Traffic to the E-Commerce Industry


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Global business-to-consumer e-commerce sales are due to hit an astounding $1.5 trillion by the end of 2014. This 20% increase this year, is being fueled by the growth of emerging markets where access to the internet is finally becoming commonplace. Analyzing the top markets referring traffic to websites in this industry, will give e-commerce businesses exclusive opportunities when moving ahead in these markets and gaining a strong foothold.





An Analysis of The e-Commerce Industry

Going over the average visits per site over the past 6 months, we found and nice steady growth as you can see here:


E-Commerce Industry – Traffic Growth – By SimilarWeb PRO

The following traffic distribution map shows stats from last June. This gives you a nice visualization of the country spread of the e-commerce industry, even before you start diving in the stats in the table of countries.


Worldwide distribution of most popular e-commerce industries in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO

The  Industry Analysis section offers data for the past month. In order to understand which are the top countries that generated traffic to sites from the e-commerce industry in 2014 till now, I had to draw information directly from our hive of data. This resulted to this table you see here, which gives you a clear understanding of the main markets that are already generating traffic in this industry. What you can do with this data, for instance, is start analyzing existing competitors in each of these countries, using the Website Analysis section on the PRO, and look for lucrative markets with low competition.


Analysis per Country

I didn’t stop there and continue to research individual industries I found in this list. Here’s a quick summary of their traffic stats:


Not surprisingly, the United States topped the list of biggest traffic providers to the e-commerce industry. In 2013, over $263 billion of US retail sales came from e-commerce and SimilarWeb PRO shows how this sector received 25.3 million visits in June 2014. However, it was 11.5% down on the visit rate for May 2014 which suggests the market is prone to sudden fluctuations.


Visits to the US e-commerce industry in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO

Given the sheer size of it’s potential user base – estimated to be nearly 280,000,000 – just imagine the opportunities to get products in front of customers. The potential for increasing conversion rates should have dollar signs flashing up in front of your eyes.


Brazil is placed second in the top 20 and is home to a vibrant e-commerce industry which generated nearly $12 billion in 2013. Similar Web PRO showed me that this particular branch of the industry generated 13.1 million visits in June 2014, but this was down just over 6% compared to the previous month.


Visits to the Brazil e-commerce industry in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO

Businesses would be advised to investigate the Brazilian market due to its ever growing user base (currently estimated at 107,000,000). 2015 should see mobile broadband access reaching 85% of the population, so e-commerce is still an expanding market in Brazil.


Ukraine didn’t make the top 20 list when looking on all months so far in 2014, but since it did reach number 3 in June’s data and had even higher traffic numbers in May. I got curious and decided to run a deeper analysis on it.

In 2013, Ukraine showed promising prospects, generating $1.6 billion from e-commerce and this signaled a growth of 45%. However, despite posting respectable visiting figures of 7.8 million in June 2014, the decrease comparing to May was huge –  37.17%. This, together with low traffic numbers in earlier months this year, places Ukraine in a very unstable place when it comes to e-commerce opportunities. One might associate this to the recent ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. On the other hand, at present, only 40% of Ukraine citizens have internet access. This means this market still has a lot of unused potential when it comes to online business opportunities, including e-commerce activity.


Visits to the Ukraine e-commerce industry in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO

Key Opportunities

Of course, it’s not only the most prolific e-commerce countries you should be investigating. You need to analyze the up and coming success stories to see if there is any arbitrage to be had, so I examined these markets using SimilarWeb PRO.


Although India currently places 10th in the top earning countries, they only contribute 3% of the total e-commerce revenues. They are, however, an intriguing market full of potential that can’t be ignored. The broadband revolution in India is finally gathering pace and, due to low cost smart phones, many Indians now find themselves with the luxury of accessing services and products that were previously out of reach. SimilarWeb PRO shows us that June 2014 saw India’s e-commerce industry receive 2.65 million visits which was less than 0.5% than May 2014. It’s still a drop, but compared to the drop experienced by the US, Brazil and Ukraine it’s miniscule and indicates a strong market


Visits to the India e-commerce industry in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO


Another country that didn’t make the top 20 cut of the accumulated data from the last 6 months, but did reach the 19th position in June’s data, in another territory with great potential. This time, it’s due to local technical issues related to Internet access – currently, Indonesians struggle with slow internet connections and expensive rates. However, with companies like Facebook and Google, promising to connect the entire world to the internet, one must consider future opportunities especially in such technically developing countries.


Visits to the Indonesia e-commerce industry in June 2014 by SimilarWeb PRO

Mapping Your Efforts

Discovering which countries are most active in the e-commerce industry is very important for your business. Understanding where to concentrate your efforts gives you the ability to improve revenue streams outside of your domestic ventures. SimilarWeb PRO can provide you with details on the most active e-commerce countries, but these need to be viewed on a monthly basis, and together with regularly monitoring offline events, which can affect the online activities per country, such as we saw with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Key to working the industry is also understanding the smaller, but rapidly growing markets where fresh arbitrage is just waiting to be snapped up.

About the Author -

Natalie Halimi is the Head of Marketing Communications & Education at SimilarWeb. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Natalie has promoted services and products in the B2C and B2B arenas, in various industries.

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