If you thought that e-commerce sales would plateau after a busy holiday season, think again.
According to eMarketer, annual global e-commerce sales are set to double over the next four years, to about $4.1 trillion. In 2016, all e-commerce sales worldwide hit $1.9 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion in 2015.
And the world’s top two online retailers are barely tapping into a fast-growing trend, even though their sales keep increasing at a rapid clip.
For example, Amazon’s revenue climbed 22 percent year-over-year. Additionally, the company’s total 2016 sales increase 27 percent, reaching a whopping $136 billion.
Walmart showed healthy growth in its e-commerce business last year, increasing more than 15 percent year-over-year, and its U.S. e-commerce sales gained 35 percent on the prior year’s quarter.
It highlighted several recent e-commerce and omnichannel investments that helped drive its online sales growth such as:
Acquiring e-commerce Jet.com, which contributed heavily to its U.S. e-commerce growth
Orders via the Pickup Today service, which enables same-day pickup for items ordered online and are made available in its domestic stores
Launching a Global Import Store on JD.com, the China-based e-commerce giant in which it owns a 12 percent stake
Warding Off Competition
To keep Amazon in its sights, Walmart is continuing to enhance its online presence, while exploring ways to bridge its online and in-store sales and operations — it began offering free two-day shipping on online orders of more than $35, resulting in an uptick in online sales.
According to Business Insider, this shipping policy is clearly aimed at undercutting Amazon, which offers free two-day shipping for its Prime members who pay an annual $99 membership fee. Walmart also acquired online shoe retailer ShoeBuy and outdoor apparel and gear e-tailer Moosejaw, in efforts to gain more online sales, while expanding its product offerings for a higher-end customer segment.
A Long Road Ahead
Even with its impressive growth and investments, Walmart’s total e-commerce sales still make up a small fraction of its business — online sales are only 3 percent of total sales. This means that the retailer is still behind Amazon and has a long way to go in the e-commerce space.