Consumers spent roughly $1.74 trillion online last year on retail purchases, more than double what they spent on the web just five years prior, according to Internet Retailer’s just-released Global 1000. But online retail is undergoing a real mind shift as merchants in markets around the world implement new online strategies to respond to new technologies and changing consumer behavior.

A slick desktop shopping site won’t cut it anymore.

The biggest and fastest-growing web merchants around the world—or those ranked in Internet Retailer’s just-released Global 1000—are finding new ways to appeal to the demands of today’s online shopper, often going beyond the traditional desktop shopping site. 

That’s the principal takeaway from the Global 1000: The Reinvention of Global E-Retail, Internet Retailer’s just-released research report and database.

In the just two short decades since the birth of online retail, quite a lot has changed. Roughly 40% of the world’s population—around 3.2 billion people—now have access to the internet, and nearly one-third own a smartphone.

Those connected consumers—and the online retailers that sell to them—are spurring big changes in retail markets around the world. Consumers collectively purchased $1.74 trillion worth of goods online last year, more than twice as much as they did five years earlier. Merchants in the Global 1000 alone sold $610 billion of that. In markets like the U.S., where Inc. dominates, and China, where Alibaba Group Holdings the main player, online sales now make up more than 10% of all consumer retail spending.


Each region is different and for a retailer to be successful beyond its home market, it must learn to appeal to consumers’ cultures and local needs. That includes providing popular payment options, addressing shoppers in their own languages, and offering convenient delivery options. Still, Internet Retailer research finds one common thread exists among all global e-commerce markets: Online retail strategy is changing at a rapid clip in order to keep up with changing consumer behavior.

Increasingly, four strategies show up among many of the biggest online merchants in the world, or those ranked in the Global 1000 include: selling on online marketplaces or operating one of their own, strong mobile technology, selling to consumers abroad and robust omnichannel capabilities.

The Global 1000 describes these strategies in detail. In addition to strategic analysis of winning e-retailing strategies, the in-depth 103-page PDF report and online database ranks e-retailers and online marketplace operators that comprise roughly 75% of the $1.74 trillion global e-commerce market. It also highlights unique characteristics of key regions and e-commerce markets, and identifies and largest and fastest-growing merchants in each region.

The report also includes:

  • Global web sales and total retail sales for the last five years
  • Regional web sales and market share figures for each of the last five years
  • Web sales, market share, number of online shoppers, smartphone penetration and other stats on 12 key e-commerce markets (China, U.S., United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Russia and India)
  • Rankings, sales and other exclusive data on the 18 largest online marketplaces in the world
  • Interviews with key e-retail leaders from global e-commerce merchants  including Zalando SE (ranked No. 25 in the Global 1000), B2W Digital (No. 26), Debenhams Plc (No. 106) and Inc. (No. 1)

In the database version of the Global 1000, subscribers will also receive:

  • Rankings and a three-year web sales history on the largest 1,000 e-retailers around the world
  • Operations statistics on each merchant, including e-commerce site traffic, conversion rate and average order value.
  • Corporate contact information for 2,594 e-commerce executives

Click here for more information or to order.