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Feb 17, 2021
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China, US and UK are world's biggest B2C online markets

Published
Feb 17, 2021

Not only have the Chinese returned to physical stores in large numbers as the pandemic has eased in that country, but consumers there remain the biggest online spenders globally, a new study shows.


H&M



Card processing specialist Merchant Marine said it has analysed the B2C spend of countries around the world to find the biggest online spenders. 

And it found that the Chinese were in the lead overall, spending $1.276 trillion online in the last year (even though that was down 8.6% from the previous year). Chinese consumers had an average online per capita spend of $2,386. 

But while the country’s massive population puts it in the lead in terms of absolute spend, it doesn't make it the biggest spender per head.

In fact, the US in number two position with spending of $830.7 billion last year, actually had a per capita spend of $3,680. And third-placed Britain with a total spend of $233 billion (£176.6 billion) had an even bigger per capita spend at $4,516. 

It might surprise some people that the top five was rounded out by Denmark and Norway. The former saw spend of $19.9 billion last year, or $4,084 per capita. And the latter had total spend of $14.3 billion and per capita spend of $3,408.

The rest of the top-10 comprised Hong Kong, Finland, Switzerland, France and Canada.

It highlights how well developed online shopping is in certain European markets, particularly some European countries, Greater China and the US. 

But it's interesting that those countries with the biggest overall spend aren’t necessarily those that spend the largest percentage of their salaries online. In fact, Turkey tops that list with 20%, just slightly ahead of China. Nigeria is in third place on 19% with Morocco number four on 18% and Russia number five on 15%.

The UK is next on 15%, followed by Greece on 14%, Portugal on 13%, Chile on 12% and Taiwan also on 12%.

The research also showed the product categories that grew the most last year and it's unsurprising that the list included disposable gloves, bread-making machines and some foods. By contrast, some of the biggest declines as far as product categories were concerned were seen in key areas for the fashion sector. Luggage and suitcases declined 77% last year while men's swimwear was down 64%, bridal clothing dropped to 63% and men's formalwear was down 62%.

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