E-commerce in U.S. lags Europe

Overall economic growth in Europe is slower than in the U.S., but the opposite is true when it comes to e-commerce sales, according to figures published by Internet Retailer.
U.S. e-commerce sales grew 15.9% to $225.54 billion in 2012 from $194.61 billion the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce while the Centre for Retail Research in the U.K. said European e-commerce sales increased 16.6% to $302.2 billion from 260.4 billion.

The 500 leading e-retailers in Europe did even better, according to Internet Retailer, collectively increasing their web sales 17% to $122.74 billion from $104.89 billion.

“Despite its fragmented nature, the European e-commerce market is bigger than the U.S. market and is growing at roughly the same speed," said Jack Love, Internet Retailer chairman and CEO. "It's quite an amazing achievement, since they've not had the benefit of a growing overall economy like we've had here in the U.S. And since the European e-commerce market is so decentralized - there are no pan-European operators like the e-retailers that sell across America - that's a shining beacon of opportunity for major players to emerge and grab market share."

As in the U.S., Amazon.com is Europe’s top-ranked e-tailer with sales that grew 19.3% to $16.1 billion compared to $13.5 billion the prior year. The fastest-growing e-retailer in Europe was Japan’s Rakuten Inc., which grew sales 650% to $786.4 million.

Overall, U.S. companies have a limited presence in Europe, according to Internet Retailer data. Of the top 500 e-tailers in Europe, only 40 are U.S.-based and their sales growth fell below the market average. The collective sales U.S.-based companies increase 13.7% to $25.4 billion and accounted for 22.1% share of the top 500 European e-tailer sales.

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