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Worldwide Retail Sales Projected to Top $22 Trillion

Retail sales are expected to top $22 trillion this year, eMarketer reported, which is expected to include $1.3 trillion in e-commerce led by China and the U.S.

That figure is estimated to increase 5.5 percent and is projected to hit $28.3 trillion, based on eMarketers latest figures. eMarketer said this is the first forecast of the global retail market and retail e-commerce sales worldwide. This forecast also include a breakdown across 22 countries.

"When it comes to retail products and services purchased on the Internet, e-commerce will account for 5.9 percent of the total retail market worldwide in 2014, or $1.316 trillion," the report said. By 2018, that share will increase significantly to 8.8 percent, yet retail e-commerce will still account for just a fraction of in-store purchases even as it nears $2.5 trillion by the end of our forecast."

On the e-commerce side, China and U.S. are leading the world and are projected to capture a combined 55 percent of the global Internet retail sales for the year. Over the next five years, however, that gap is expected to grow and China is expected to become the global leader in e-commerce sales.

"China will exceed $1 trillion in retail e-commerce sales by 2018, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total worldwide," the report said. "The U.S. will maintain its position as the second-largest retail e-commerce market in 2018, totaling nearly $500 billion that year, while the U.K. will account for about one-quarter of that figure, landing in a distant third place."

E-commerce is certainly growing in the U.S., as figures continue to outpace the growth seen in stores every year, but eMarketer statistics show that U.S. consumers still appreciate purchasing items in stores. A majority of consumers purchase items online, but are still heading into brick-and-mortar stores to spend their money.

"Approximately 63 percent of the U.S. population will make a digital purchase this year, yet only 6.5 percent of U.S. retail sales are expected to come from Internet transactions, increasing to 8.9 percent by 2018," the report said. "In other words, a majority of U.S. consumers are making purchases online, but more than $10 out of every $11 are still spent in stores."

In comparison, e-commerce in China and the U.K. makes up a significantly higher percentage of total retail sales. For the U.K. projections for 2014, e-commerce is projected to make up 11.6 percent of total retail sales. That's nearly 3 percent higher than China's 8.3 percent figure.

"Digital buyers—consumers who purchase online at least once during the year—will represent only 27.5 percent of China’s population in 2014, while more than 10 percent of all retail purchases occur via the Internet," eMarketer reported. "This points to the fact that consumers in China who buy online do so often."

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