Business has changed a lot in the last few decades. Back in the day, it was common to stay within your local market. You could only sell products to people who were near your physical location. Nowadays, you can sell to a global audience with ease. E-commerce and social media platforms have put the international marketplace within everyone’s reach. The question isn’t what to sell, it’s who to sell to. Which online market should you target in 2017?

With so many markets available, it’s crucial to identify your best opportunities. A focused plan will get you much farther than a general one. You want to pick the region that enables you to earn the most money. What is the best online market to target in 2017? This guide will show you the answer.

Worldwide Growth Statistics

You can make it easier to measure the world by comparing e-commerce growth on a regional basis. Here’s a breakdown of how much the major regions grew between 2015 and 2016:

  • The Middle East = 15%
  • Asia-Pacific = 15%
  • The Americas = 8%
  • Europe = 3%

Internet access is another useful statistic. Here’s how much of the population is connected to the internet in a few sample countries:

High Connectivity Countries:

  • United Arab Emirate = 99%
  • Japan = 93%
  • United Kingdom = 92%
  • Canada = 91%
  • South Korea = 90%

Low Connectivity Countries:

  • India = 35%
  • Egypt = 37%
  • Indonesia = 51%
  • South Africa = 52%

You can use this information to get a better context for online markets in 2017.

For example, look at India. The government is trying to connect its citizens to the internet. Between free wifi for rural villages and the shift towards digital currency, it seems tempting to sell products there.

However, if you look closer, you will see problems. Only 35% of the population in India is connected to the internet. Furthermore, last-mile delivery is a huge struggle in the region and much of the population is poverty-stricken. After looking at the facts, India might not be the right region for you at this time.

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With that said, there are several positive inferences to take away from this data. Here’s a look at several great regions to target for your e-commerce business.

China is a Growing Market

When it comes to sheer growth, you can’t find a better country than China. After years of lagging behind North America, the international superpower is finally experiencing an e-commerce explosion.

To give you an idea of how extreme China’s situation is, their e-commerce retail sales are expected to double between 2016 and 2019. In just three years, a nation of one billion people will start spending twice as much money in the online market. That’s a huge opportunity.

There are unique challenges involved in marketing to Chinese citizens. The internet is heavily censored by the government, to the point that Facebook is banned. You’ll have to learn about China’s social media platforms, such as “WeChat”, to have a presence there.

China’s massive population is the final factor in putting it at the top of markets to target in 2017. Capturing even a tiny portion of China could result in huge rewards compared to smaller countries.

The Philippines’s are Experiencing an Internet Revolution

While most countries saw modest improvements in internet technology last year, the Philippines enjoyed a huge speed boost. That means that citizens of this country are now using the internet like never before.

The average internet-connected citizen in The Philippines goes online for a whopping nine hours per day. Nearly half of that is spent on a mobile device. There’s a huge opportunity to interact with people on social media, giving them quality content to engage with during their many hours online.

Remember that mobile traffic doesn’t convert to sales as well as desktop traffic does. If you interact with people in the Philippines via mobile phones, try to give them a reason to come back on their desktop device later.

The United States Is Safe

Many words have been written about the upcoming plateau in e-commerce growth for North America. In particular, the United States is seen as a largely tapped-out market.

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It is true that North America will see significantly less development in the next decade. The population of this region is not sufficient to sustain continued 10% growth each year. However, it’s important to separate the facts from the media narrative here.

Consider that consumers spent more than $100 billion online in the United States last year. This is not a weak market. It’s just unlikely to maintain 10+% growth rates for another decade.

You can and should still target North America with your e-commerce business. It will continue to grow for the next three or so years, and is likely to stabilize from there while the rest of the world catches up.

Choosing Your 2017 Online Market

Global e-commerce trends suggest that you need a two-sided business strategy. Focus on currently strong markets for today’s revenue, while preparing to capture the growing markets in other regions for future profits.

In the short-term, keep up with North America and Europe. These are massive regions that drive a ton of sales.

Looking ahead, focus on regions with great internet access and healthy e-commerce growth. China and the Philippines are both good choices. The United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and Cuba are all worth watching as well.


 

This guide has given you a clear framework to understand and act upon the global trends in e-commerce. By thinking on an international level, you will set up your company for success in next decade.

In your opinion, which online market are the best to target? Tell us below or Tweet us!