GENEVA — The number of consumers buying online is projected to reach more than 1.6 billion by 2018, up 50 percent on the nearly 1.1 billion in 2013, opening new opportunities for digital sales of apparel, already among the top five items, along with airline tickets, according to a United Nations report.
In 2014, global business-to-consumer e-commerce was valued at $1.5 trillion, up by $300 billion on the previous year’s $1.2 trillion, U.N. officials said.
The report highlights analysis of government and business statistical data for 2013 (the last year with a full set) and found that 10 countries accounted for more than 80 percent of revenues from online consumer sales, with the United Kingdom’s online buyers each spending an average of $4,874, followed by France with $3,688; Japan, $2,171; the United States, $1,975, and China 271 million online buyers on average, $1,111 each.
The research shows apparel was among the top five items among buyers’ preferences in four of the world’s five regions: Asia and Oceania, Europe, North America and Latin America, said Torbjörn Fredriksson, chief of technology and logistics at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development.
An online survey of 30,000 consumers carried out last year on buying intentions over the next six months, cited in the report, found in Asia and Oceania, 57 percent of those surveyed said they would buy apparel, while in North America that number was 42 percent, in Europe, 34 percent; Latin America, 28 percent, and in the Middle East and Africa, 26 percent.
The study reveals growth in online buyers by 2018 to nearly double to reach 782 million in Asia and Oceania, expand by 64 percent to 139 million in Latin America, and in more developed regions such as Western Europe to advance by 15 percent to 210 million; in North America, by 18 percent to nearly 209 million, and in the Middle East and Africa, to increase by 82 percent to nearly 171 million online buyers.