In 2016, the total retail e-commerce sales worldwide were estimated at $1.9 trillion . This translates to 8.7% of international retail product and services sales. In 2017, these sales are expected to grow by 22.9%. Increased mobile and internet penetration, competition among major ecommerce players including Amazon, Alibaba, and Ebay, plus growing middle-class populations globally have played a major role in this growth. In this article, we identify some of the industries that have seen the fastest growth in e-commerce worldwide.

Computers and Electronics

Computers and consumer electronics continue to lead global e-commerce sales, with mobile smartphones, tablets, and laptops topping the list. This category was valued at $686 billion in 2016, fueled largely by an increase in demand for cheaper smartphones and electronics in emerging markets such as India and Africa. The technology savvy consumer has created a competitive market for high-performance electronics with easy online purchase and delivery options.

Fashion and Beauty

Euromonitor International reports that $24billion was spent on beauty and personal care products bought online globally. Social media, especially video, primarily influences makeup, skin and hair care e-commerce purchases. Mobile applications also play a role in consumer education and increase their likelihood of purchasing beauty products online.

Clothes, shoes and fashion accessories also ranked highly for e-commerce purchases across several markets worldwide. In 2015, online apparel sales accounted for 17% of the Global 1000 report, a list of one thousand top ecommerce retailers worldwide. The global jewelry market is also projected to hit $257 billion in 2017.


The vaping industry has seen tremendous growth in the recent past. In 2015, it was valued at $ 3.5 billion up from $1.7 billion in 2013. It is poised to hit the $ 5 billion mark in 2017 according to analysts. The popularity of vaping has been fueled by the growing middle class population and the increasing health concerns pertaining to smoking. The CDC blames cigarette smoking for the deaths of over 480,000 people every year. Awareness about the harmful health effects of smoking has seen many smokers switch to vaping which is way safer. The American Heart Association has noted that vaping is less harmful than traditional cigarettes and can actually be an important to tool in helping smokers to quit. Public health England has stated that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes. The industry will continue to grow especially as e-cigarettes become more affordable as technology advances and competition among manufacturers increases. Coil replacement can also be accessed almost anywhere in the country today.

Travel & Hospitality

Online airline ticket sales, hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and associated services have also seen an impressive increase worldwide. This industry currently grosses $100billion in global e-commerce sales annually. Mobile payment platforms have provided convenient payment options for travelers and hotel guests. Social media platforms provide reliable peer reviews that enable consumers to make informed decisions. Hotels now have more opportunities for advertising, marketing and customer care using social tools. Rates in the industry have also become more competitive due to platforms such as Airbnb and

Media & Entertainment

The music industry has been influenced by the shift from physical sale of music CDs to paid online downloads from iTunes and similar platforms. Ticketing websites have streamlined the advertising and sale of music concert and other event tickets, increasing profits for stakeholders in the industry. Movie and TV industries now also rely heavily on pay TV channel subscriptions for revenue, with companies such as Netflix leading the way in this area. Mobile devices including phones and tablets are a large part of this e-commerce market. Online and mobile games purchases have also contributed to the online growth of purchases for entertainment globally. Social media platforms account for a significant percentage of online purchases globally.

These five industries are expected to continue their growth trends in 2017, with internet connectivity and payment and delivery channels improving globally.


by: Dennis Hung