The internet retail industry, also known as e-commerce, has become an integral part of the global economy as consumers increasingly turn to online platforms to purchase goods and services. This report provides an overview of the current state of the internet retail industry, including key statistics, trends, challenges, and major industry players.

The internet retail industry can be segmented based on product categories, business models, and target customer segments. Key product categories include electronics, fashion, home goods, and groceries. Business models encompass business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) transactions. Target customer segments can range from individual consumers to large enterprises.

The internet retail industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years, driven by factors such as technological advancements, increasing internet penetration, and the convenience of online shopping. The industry comprises a diverse range of players, from multinational giants to small and medium-sized businesses.

Important Stats

  • Global internet retail market size in 2022: $4.9 trillion
  • Projected CAGR (2021-2026): 12%
  • Largest market: Asia-Pacific, accounting for 50% of global revenue
  • Mobile commerce share of internet retail sales: 65% in 2022

Key Characteristics

  1. Platform Diversity: E-commerce can be conducted through various platforms, including standalone websites, hosted platforms (like Shopify), and massive online marketplaces (like Amazon or Alibaba).
  2. Global Reach: Internet retailers can potentially reach a global audience, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores limited by geography.
  3. Diverse Product Offerings: From books and electronics to digital services and subscriptions, almost anything can be sold online.
  4. Direct-to-Consumer (D2C): Brands can bypass traditional retail channels to sell directly to consumers.

Revenue Streams

  1. Product Sales: Direct revenue from selling goods.
  2. Subscription Services: Recurring revenue from subscription-based products or services.
  3. Listing Fees: Marketplaces may charge sellers a fee to list products.
  4. Transaction Fees: Fees charged on each sale, especially common in marketplace models.
  5. Advertising: Revenue from ads displayed on e-commerce platforms.

Market Dynamics

  • Consumer Behavior: The convenience, variety, and often competitive pricing of online shopping have driven its adoption.
  • Technological Advancements: Improved payment systems, website design tools, and logistics solutions facilitate e-commerce growth.
  • Mobile Commerce: Shopping via smartphones and tablets has seen significant growth, thanks to mobile-optimized sites and apps.
  • Cross-Border Shopping: Consumers can order products from other countries with relative ease.


  1. Logistics and Delivery: Efficiently storing, packing, and delivering products can be complex, especially for global orders.
  2. Competition: The low barrier to entry means intense competition, especially from giants like Amazon.
  3. Cybersecurity: Ensuring secure transactions and protecting customer data is paramount.
  4. Returns and Customer Service: Managing returns and offering effective customer service remotely can be challenging.


  1. Omnichannel Retailing: Integrating online and offline shopping experiences, where brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms complement each other.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Using AI for personalized product recommendations, chatbots, and predictive analytics.
  3. Sustainability: Offering eco-friendly products, sustainable packaging, and carbon-neutral shipping options.
  4. Social Commerce: Selling directly through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.

Key Metrics

  • Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV): Total value of merchandise sold over a period.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of website visitors who make a purchase.
  • Average Order Value (AOV): Average amount spent by a customer per transaction.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The cost to acquire a new customer, considering marketing and advertising expenses.

Major Players

  • Generalist Giants: Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart’s online segment are examples of massive e-commerce platforms offering a wide range of products.
  • Niche Retailers: Websites like ASOS (fashion) or Newegg (electronics) specialize in specific product categories.
  • D2C Brands: Companies like Warby Parker (eyewear) or Casper (mattresses) that sell directly to consumers without intermediaries.
  • Tech Platforms: Shopify and Magento, which provide the technological infrastructure for businesses to set up their online stores.

Future Outlook

  • Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: Allowing consumers to virtually “try on” products or visualize them in their space.
  • Voice Commerce: Shopping using voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.
  • Decentralized E-commerce: Using blockchain technology to create transparent and direct peer-to-peer trading platforms.
  • Localized and Hyper-Local Delivery: Faster delivery solutions, including same-day or even same-hour delivery options.

Top Companies

  • Amazon.com
  • Alibaba Group
  • Pinduoduo
  • JD.com
  • MercadoLibre
  • Coupang
  • eBay
  • Chewy
  • Etsy
  • Wayfair
  • Poshmark
  • Carvana
  • Fiverr
  • Overstock.com