E-commerce Sales Hit $8.1 Trillion Globally

April 19, 2023

Consumers used to flock to brick-and-mortar stores for their regular, low-value purchases. These habits changed drastically due to the pandemic, opening the way to increased purchases online.

Now, even though stores opened their doors within the last two years, consumers seem content with their pandemic-driven shopping habits, as e-commerce card purchases gain momentum due to their security and convenience.

It was recently revealed by The Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2027 that consumers spent $8.1 trillion using payment cards in 2021. A 19% growth from previous years. 

The popularity of online shopping can be attributed to the increased internet access, a ‘growing number of cards being equipped with e-commerce functionality’ and the shift the pandemic made in consumers’ habits.

Consumers also became increasingly comfortable making e-commerce purchases on their smartphones, with many online stores allowing customers to pay via their mobile wallets to speed up the payment process. In fact, 78% of online payments in Belgium were made on mobile devices. Physical stores are not obsolete in the equation, however, as consumers went back to them to pay bills and purchase groceries.

According to the study, payment cards are not always used in online shopping. Such is the case in the Netherlands, where only 7% of card purchase was attributed to online shopping. It is expected this number will grow in 2023 as more Dutch debit cards become equipped with e-commerce functionality. Before this, the transfer-based payment system iDeal had dominated the market. Similarly, in Poland, the country’s payment system, BLIK, was more popular than cards by far due to the convenience of this payment system, which allows consumers to pay for items via a one-time code generated on their mobile banking app.

It is expected that as more online stores start accepting mobile wallets, payment cards will become increasingly convenient and an ‘equal’ to BLIK in Poland. 

Another industry that bounced back was the tourism industry, leading to an increase in purchases made with online travel agents.

As travel bookings are predominantly made online and tend to be high value, they contributed to growth in both the number and volume of e-commerce transactions

Boosting Online Transactions 

In some countries, the government is coming up with ways to boost online spending volume. Such is the case in Pakistan, where in 2019, policies that protect the consumer were unveiled. This contributed to doubling e-commerce in 2021. Something similar happened in Vietnam, where there were incentives for using cards such as discounts and benefits in order to drive up online spending.

Consumer habits that were initially induced by the pandemic are set to become long‑term trends. RBR forecasts that e‑commerce will account for almost a quarter of all payment card spending by 2027

Want to learn more? Check out Payments Cards and Mobile’s full write-up here.

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