According to the 2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Index™ by AT Kearney, the global e-commerce market consists of larger, mature markets boasting large sales volumes, such as China, the US and the UK, and also smaller, upcoming markets convincing with their potential and growth prospects.

The UK (3rd) and Germany (5th) are the highest ranking EU countries, joined in the Top 5 by the US (1st), China (2nd) and Japan (4th). Spain, that hadn’t been ranked in 2013, achieved a respectable 18th rank.

Stock markets reacted to the promising growth of the e-commerce sector across all countries with ‘skyrocketing’ valuations of e-commerce countries.

However impressive the e-commerce growth, the researchers of AT Kearney also highlight the importance of sales channel integration: “both brick-and-mortar leaders and pure-play online behemoths are learning that the future of the industry is not merely online, but rather in creative omnichannel offerings that link online and physical shopping. As a result, the walls between brick-and mortar and e-commerce are already coming down”.


Large online retailers are finding possibilities for growth in new markets—often without a physical footprint. Across the world shoppers are buying more products online—and in particular, on their mobile phones—so there is clearly an opportunity. Several brick-and-mortar retailers have used e-commerce to expand over the past two years.

The key to success internationally is localizing the online presence while also maintaining a unified global brand: “For example, British fashion and beauty e-retailer ASOS created a dedicated team for its Russian market to ensure that its phrasing, language, and image resonated with 20-year-olds in Russia while still meeting global brand standards” reads the report.

Product categories

On a global average, electronics, fashion, services, books, and tickets are the top categories for e-commerce; groceries and household items are the least commonly purchased. However, there are striking local differences, with groceries e.g. being a popular category in the UK and China, bu not in the rest of the world.


Index ranks the top 30 countries based on nine variables, including select macroeconomic factors as well as those that examine consumer adoption of technology, shopping behaviors, infrastructure, and retail-specific activities. The Index balances current online retail market indicators with those that predict the potential for future growth. More Information about the metrics can be found at AT Kearney’s site (see sidebar: About the Global Retail E-Commerce Index).