US is the world’s largest economy with a thriving online shopping scene. If you’re a merchant with an e-commerce store in Europe, you might be thinking about branching out and selling to customers in the US. It presents a great opportunity to expand your ecommerce business and reach a whole new market .
But how can you tackle it? What do you have to consider? How is selling in the US different from selling in Europe? To answer all your questions here at ShippyPro , we’ve put together this guide on how to expand your ecommerce business to the US market .
US E-Commerce Market Trends
If you are considering expanding into a new country, it is important that you have a good understanding of what the market is like there. Luckily for e-commerce retailers, the online market in the US is constantly growing . It is predicted that by 2021 there will be 230.5 million online shoppers in the US . According to another Statista forecast, online retail sales — which totaled $343.15 billion in 2019 — are expected to reach $ 476.5 billion in 2024. It’s clear that this is a market that’s really moving.
The number of US buyers buying from non-US sellers is also increasing. In 2016, 69% of online shoppers only purchased from US e-commerce retailers, 28% from both domestic and cross-border retailers, and 4% from only cross-border retailers. By 2018, these numbers varied, with 66% buying only from domestic sellers, 27% buying from a mix of domestic and cross-border sellers, and 7% buying exclusively from international sellers. This suggests there is an increasing number of US shoppers looking for other markets to do their shopping .
Top Products and Categories for US Ecommerce Buyers
Shoppers in the US shop online for a variety of products, but the fashion and technology sectors are leading the way. As of November 2017, the most popular products purchased online by US customers were:
- Fashion clothing and accessories (71% women, 49% men)
- Health and beauty products (54% women, 33% men)
- Books, CDs and other physical media (46% women, 45% men)
- Technology products (31% women, 49% men)
- House and furniture (31% women, 28% men)
Especially on Amazon , the most popular products in 2023 were:
- Electronics (44%)
- Clothing, shoes and jewelry (43%)
- House and kitchen (39%)
- Beauty and Personal Care (36%)
- Books (33%)
- Cell Phones and Accessories (28%)
- Movies and TV (25%)
- Pet Supplies (20%)
- Sports and outdoors (17%)
- Food and Gourmet (15%)
- Auto parts and accessories (13%)
Retailers across all industries have good options , although fashion and technology are the most popular with US online shoppers. Your company’s goal is to differentiate yourself from competitors in your industry who sell both inside and outside the United States.
Increase in mobile shopping
More and more shoppers are shopping with their smartphone. With the technology to browse, compare prices between retailers and buy products, the battle to stand out is fiercer than ever.
In 2021, more than half (54%) of all retail e-commerce is expected to be generated from mobile platforms . And it’s not just traditional search engines that shoppers use to discover their new favorite products. Social media is becoming increasingly important for US shoppers – in fact, 48% of online shoppers in the US have purchased products or services they discovered through social media platforms.
This means your business needs to be available and visible to customers not only on desktop platforms but also on mobile devices
US Shopping Behavior
According to a survey conducted in October 2019 , customers in the United States make their purchase decisions primarily based on competitive prices when shopping online . 70% said it was the number one factor that led them to shop with a particular online retailer. Shipping costs are another key factor. 62% said free shipping is an important factor when choosing an online retailer.
According to a 2019 report by JP Morgan, the preferred way for US customers to shop online is via mobile . However, shopping in retailer apps is also popular.
App-based sales account for 55% of all mobile ecommerce transactions thanks to their ease of use and fast payment options. In the US, Amazon, Poshmark and Letgo are among the leading apps by number of downloads. The sales figures for e-commerce transactions on different devices in 2017 are as follows:
- Ecommerce completed on a mobile device: $282.8 billion
- In-app mobile commerce completed: $156.3 billion
- Mobile commerce completed through a browser: $126.5 billion
Best Online Marketplaces and CMS in USA
You have decided to sell in the US and now you have a good overview of the market. What are the best marketplaces to start selling on? And which CMS should you use to increase your sales? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular marketplaces and CMS in the US .
Best Marketplaces in USA
The best marketplace for your ecommerce business depends on what you are looking for and the types of products you are selling. We recommend some of the most popular marketplaces as detailed below.
It’s no surprise to learn that Amazon is the most visited e-commerce platform in the US. As of May 2020, Amazon.com had over 2.5 billion visits (mobile and desktop combined). This was a significant increase from February 2020, when 2.01 billion visits were recorded.
In fact , 66% of shoppers start their product research on Amazon. So it is not only used for shopping, but also for narrowing down product choices and comparing prices.
eBay is another popular marketplace in the US. Total platform revenue was $10.8 billion in 2019 , up slightly from $10.7 billion year-over-year.
If you’ve ever been to the United States, you’ve seen massive Walmart stores in cities across the country. The brand was the top American retailer in 2019 with sales of approximately $399.8 million. However, Walmart has also focused on e-commerce, acknowledging competition from established online marketplaces like Amazon. E-commerce currently accounts for around 8% of Walmart’s total sales as of 2019, but the company is keen on e-commerce in the future. The company’s e-commerce revenue is expected to grow to around $38 billion in 2020 from $15 billion in 2017 .
Etsy is the ideal choice for the marketplace if you specialize in handmade, craft, or vintage items . Retail sales on Etsy have grown significantly over the past few years. In 2012, Etsy’s annual marketplace revenue was $55.33 million . This had risen to $593.65 by 2019, accounting for 72.5% of the company’s sales.
More than 2.5 million sellers sold goods through Etsy in 2019 , up from 2.1 million the year before.
Best CMS in the US
There are also a variety of different content management systems that you can use for your ecommerce store. Some of our favorites are:
WooCommerce is the leading e-commerce platform in the US with a 23% market share . Designed for small to large online retailers using a WordPress site, it’s popular for its simplicity. There are almost 1.2 million ecommerce stores in the US using WooCommerce as their ecommerce platform.
Shopify is another popular platform in the US with a 21% market share . Just over a million locations use Shopify across the US, supporting a wide range of industries including beauty, electronics, fashion, food, and homeware. It offers basic templates that you can use to set yourself up easily .
PrestaShop is used by 300,000 ecommerce websites worldwide and is available in 60 different languages. It has a variety of built-in features that make it easy to manage product listings, payments, shipping, manufacturers, and suppliers.
Magento is highly customizable, which means that retailers who choose this CMS can ensure that their store’s look and content matches their brand. More than 100,000 online stores have been launched with Magento, and more than $155 billion worth of goods were sold through Magento-based systems in 2019.
Ecwid has 6% of the US market share. It is used by over 200,000 traders in 175 countries. It was founded in 2009 to allow small businesses to easily add online stores to their existing websites instead of creating an entirely new store from scratch.
Sell to USA now
Whatever marketplaces you use and whatever CMS you use to sell products on your own website, you can probably connect them to ShippyPro. We offer integration with 63 sales channels so you can easily manage all your sales and deliveries from one handy dashboard!
Start selling to the US now with a complete automated shipping platform for your eCommerce with