Rough Guide to America's Top eCommerce Markets

In the last few posts we’ve been exploring some of the best performing eCommerce markets and expansion opportunities in the world, covering Europe and Asia . Today we take a look at the eCommerce markets in the New World: America.

America is comprised of very diverse markets, including some of the most mature e-Commerce markets globally, such as the United States and Canada, as well as fast upcoming eCommerce markets such as Brazil and Mexico. Next to that there is a range of countries where internet infrastructure developments are still too underdeveloped to be able to support rapid eCommerce growth.

Adapted from

We collected market size numbers and 3 year growth projections (from 2014 to 2017) from and internet usage numbers in 2014 from .

eCommerce Absolute market size: US$ 441,95 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: US$ 1435
eCommerce growth projections: 10,9 %
Internet Users: 279.834.232
Internet Penetration: 86,75%

Market specifics: The United States are a very mature eCommerce market. Consumers are experienced and trustful when it comes to purchasing online. If you are providing an excellent product or service with an easy checkout system and have already implemented high-standards for technology anf security, this is a market you will definitely need to expand to. High Tech Startups : “It is possible to create a US company if you are a foreigner, without ever flying to the US and to operate it from your own country. [...] In fact, the process is surprisingly simple, although there are caveats and gotchas that specifically apply to foreigners.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: US$ 27,55 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: US$ 810,29
eCommerce growth projections: 11,2 %
Internet Users: 33.000.381
Internet Penetration: 92.89%

Market specifics: High-tech as well as efficiency-increasing products are among the most desired goods by eCommerce buyers in Canada. Nevertheless this market has a great opportunity fringe as only 10% of Canada's small business have online presence (source: Statistics Canada). Canada’s consumers are extremely aware of their rights, costs and policies, so beware and present your product and all information as clear as possible. Small Business Canada : "Canada is the best country for business in the G-20 according to Forbes Magazine's November 2012 study. It remains one of the most welcoming and profitable places in the world for international business and foreign direct investment".

eCommerce is one of the fastest-growing industries in Latin America. As gathered from data above Latin America is predicted to generate, by 2017, $75.45 billion per year. Regarding the consumers’ access to internet, Argentina ranks first with 59.74% of the population having access to internet, followed by Brazil. The most valuable eCommerce sectors for Latin America are tourism and technology.

eCommerce Absolute market size: US$ 23,51 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: US$ 121
eCommerce growth projections: 7,13 %
Internet Users: 107.822.831
Internet Penetration: 53.37%

Market specifics: Even though Brazil’s e-Commerce market has already been entered by large players such as Amazon, the scenario of online retail is clearly dominated by small and medium sized companies operating on local grounds. The most promising segments in Brazil are Fashion & Accessories, Health & Beauty and Home Décor. Economist : "BRAZIL is not an easy place to start a business. The World Bank ranks it 120th out of 183 countries — worse than Burkina Faso or Nigeria. Take one small example. Until recently, you needed at least two partners to form a limited-liability company. Sole traders had to find a “1% sócio”—an employee, friend or family member willing to lend his name to the articles of association, or a shell company set up solely to hold a tiny share.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: US$ 9,88 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: US$ 83,72
eCommerce growth projections: 13,00 %
Internet Users: 50.923.060
Internet Penetration: 41.13%

Market specifics: The biggest challenges for this promising region are still quite demanding to overcome when considering the lack of trust in online payments, the fact that many consumers don’t even own a credit card, and the limited number of payment methods available (out of curiosity, 52% of Mexicans use Paypal as preferable payment method for online shopping). Mexican Lawyer : “Doing business in Mexico has its own unique style and flavor; many people never adjust to the pace and therefore struggle unnecessarily in their business. Most people that are able to run a business in Mexico for any long period of time have an accountant and an attorney that they trust and use regularly for advice and help on various issues that they face.”

eCommerce Absolute market size: US$ 4,79 billion
eCommerce sales per inhabitant: US$ 119,75
eCommerce growth projections: 13,33 %
Internet Users: 24.973.660
Internet Penetration: 59.74%

Market specifics: The number of internet users in Argentina has been growing side-by-side with the number of online shoppers and online shops. One of the main reasons which has been enabling this parallel growth is the trust in online payment methods and the increasing development of mobile platforms, which play a major role in Argentina. Inc : “But although Argentina talks and walks like a European country, its style of doing business is distinctly Third World. The country ranks 115th on the World Bank's Doing Business index and 138th on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, thanks to a tangle of taxes, tax credits, subsidies, prohibitions, exemptions, and delays. These rules change constantly, aren't enforced uniformly, and are forever subject to bending or breaking if a bribe is paid. And almost everybody pays: Transparency International ranks Argentina 105th in terms of corruption, worse than famously corrupt countries such as Mexico, Egypt, and Liberia.”

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